Dell’s Maraschino Cherries in Brooklyn is one of the nation’s premier vendors of maraschino cherries, servicing big chains such as Red Lobster, TGI Friday and Buffalo Wild Wings. However, the company took a huge blow when its owner, Arthur Mondella, 57, killed himself in the factory during a police raid where marijuana was discovered.
Law enforcement were tipped off by allegations that the Dell’s factory was doubling as a “massive drug front” for a marijuana business from a confidential informant. They attempted to get a warrant to search the facilities in Red Hook, but were unsuccessful. However, they found another way in through the Department of Environmental Protection. They were technically searching the joint for possible waste dumping violations. The city had placed traps in the sewers which proved that the factory was definitely dumping waste. Mondella was said to be cooperative throughout the search which lasted hours. That is, until officers reached a private room that housed covered up vintage cars, including a Rolls Royce, a Porsche and a Harley Davidson motorcycle. In there, they discovered a “magnetically operated secret compartment” behind “weird shelving.” There were three bags on marijuana in this compartment. Mondella asked if he could use the bathroom and shot himself in the head with his legally registered .357 Magnum.
Upon a further search of the factory, “hundreds of thousands of dollars” were reportedly recovered. Officers also discovered generators and a system of surveillance cameras which are being considered evidence of a growing operation.
Mondella was said to be paranoid and using cocaine in the days leading up to the bust. According to his wife, he used marijuana casually.