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Arthur Mondella, Maraschino Cherry Factory Owner, Fatally Shoots Self During Drug Raid


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The owner of a Brooklyn factory that produced maraschino cherries fatally shot himself in the head after authorities discovered a huge marijuana-growing operation on the premises during a raid Tuesday.

Arthur Mondella, 57, became visibly nervous as officials inspected suspicious shelving in a storage room at Dell’s Maraschino Cherries in Red Hook, the New York Post reports. The company was founded by the man's grandfather in 1948 and is a supplier to TGI Fridays, Chick-fil-A and Caesar's.

Police received a tip that the famous factory was being used as a grow house, but were unable to obtain a search warrant, according to the Post. Instead, the Brooklyn D.A.'s office got an administrative search warrant to find out if the factory was illegally dumping hazardous waste. Officers from the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Environmental Conservation lead the inspection, according to CBS New York.


Officers found a door behind the shelves that opened to a false wall. An "overwhelming" odor of marijuana came wafting out of the dug-out cave, an unnamed law enforcement source told the New York Post.

The newspaper reports:

Mondella immediately “asked to use the bathroom, he went in the bathroom, and, ‘Boom,’ ” a source said. Before shooting himself once in the head, Mondella told his sister, “Take care of my kids,” sources said.

Police recovered three large bags of pot from behind the false wall. A search warrant was executed, during which investigators said they found evidence of “a huge marijuana-growing operation” underneath the warehouse, according to the New York Daily News.

Neighbors said they had no idea about the clandestine operation. They told CBS New York that they thought the cherry factory was just a normal family business.

"It doesn't make sense that they're a front. I mean, they are a legitimate business," Joe Morrine, owner of neighboring business Recycled Brooklyn, told the station. “It’s said. It’s very sad. So I don’t know. My heart goes out to their family.”

Mondella shot himself with a .357 Magnum handgun. A law enforcement source told the Post that investigators should have found out if Mondella had a gun permit before launching the raid.

"If someone finds out that he had the gun on his belt and nobody took it from him, somebody’s got a problem," the source said.

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wonder how long he ran pot to new yorkers?


i got a different question, how many bootleggers and rum runners were there in the alcohol prohibition days?

sure they made some in canada and floated it over, but there were always people making brews instate as well.


if hes shot in the head or put in prison for 20 years, whats the diff?

hes still "gone" to his family. for what? a plant? or a stupid law based on a lie and perpetuated by scumbags.



those people who say "oh its illegal, they should have known better", would they say the same thing about the bootleggers in the 1930s?


before you think it was some rat, think again.

why couldnt they get a warrant? think about it. if they got a tip he was growing from a regular person, thats enough for probable cause every day.


but they couldnt get a warrant.

because its another one of these making whoopee DEA using the NSA to spy on people cell phones and internet. they do some sniffing around some drug dealers and his number keeps popping up. or they tracked his phone to his warehouse.


if it were a traditional sting where they caught a drug dealer and did controlled buys from the guy, thats easy to get a warrant.

likewise if they just caught the drug dealers and checked the phone records of those dealers, they could have got a warrant to follow the guy around. 


no warrant = moo poo. they got some sneaky donkey warrant from the health department? bullschuette!

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I like your warrant comments and the tracking methods. Of course the US Government will tell you directly "Illegal activity has NO pretense of privacy ever." So now they will monitor us 24//7 in case we do something illegal and just ignore the things that don't break the law. They are thawing relations with Cuba because they see Cuba figured it out before the US - they are absorbing and applying the model every day.


BUT - the politics of contraband have not changed. If you have a family and a business and other important concerns don't ever push all the chips to the center of the table without an effective exit strategy. Not to pile on this guy because the system did enough of that already. How terrible is the fear every day? I can't imagine, I'm allowed to grow by law and still don't because their shock and awe tactics have illustrated I will never put myself in a position to talk to LEO about a growing plant until they remove its illegality and not just "ignore its illegal status due to medical need." It is or it isn't.


Another "ordinary" life lost to the War on Drugs. Add his name to the list of enemy combatants the US Government has vanquished in its quest to protect America from Americans...

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Read it elsewhere, but the gist was they used the environmental angle to gain entrance w/o tipping him (them) off... and had been watching activities for months before. It was in another article... not like much of our media is worthy of trust anymore. Who knows...


I'd wager he had issues (gambling, kid in trouble, health, normal biz insolvent, etc) and this was his best/only option. Busted, family honor gone, grand parents rolling in the grave, reg biz in the defecates, cant roll on his 'partners'... past the two year suicide clause... do what little he can in that particular moment. He might have been in deep.


Other article also said the cop they interviewed didnt understand suicide seeing that in today's age no one goes to jail for weed...? Fukn cops... asshat.

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Because they now have a whole warehouse and its contents to Auction off.

Follow the $$$.

This property will be seized and liquidated post haste.

Another Score for the Good guys.. (Sarcasm for all you people who didn't get it.)

Too bad for this guys family..

Another life lost to pot.

The Pot didn't do it, the Illegality of Pot did..

There is a Major difference..

This is one concept LEO will never understand or care about.

So sad.

Jah Bless his grieving family.

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did  he have a ccw and a pistol on person? anyone know?

heftier charges may have been on his mind, maybe he was coerced to grow for others?  maybe they would retaliate against him for the loss?  

a grow op may have been defensible, but maybe theres more than meets the eye here.

some would rather be dead than go to prison. I understand.




Marijuana isn't illegal because it's dangerous, it's dangerous because it's illegal.

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The two year moratorium being expired and knowing life insurance will pay off for suicide and alleviate questions for his family and friends was the course of logic empathy brought to my mind. I didn't want to type it because it is too morbid, glad Indigro thought it also.


What a terrible moment that had to be.


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