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Cherry factory drama: Dell's boss kills self after pot, cash found

Investigators there for alleged illegal dumping find much more

Dell's owner killed himself when investigatore found pot.

Dell's website frame grab

There was a lot more going on then making delicious preserved cherries.

Moments after investigators found a little more than they expected -- pot, a secret room, and wads of cash -- inside the Red Hook factory that makes Dell’s Maraschino Cherries, the owner killed himself.

“Take care of my kids,” Arthur Mondella, 57, shouted out this sister soon after authorities started asking questions

Then he locked himself inside a bathroom with a gun and ended his life.

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Now authorities want to know: Was the Brooklyn company a front for a drug and money laundering operation?

CBS2 said the Brooklyn DA’s office and state and local environmental officials were there looking for evidence of illegal dumping into city sewers the chemicals used to make Dell’s popular jarred cherries.

They became suspicious when they smelled pot, found it, and then hundreds of thousands in cash.

“It appears there was another activity going on, that’s for sure,” an official told the Daily News.
“I don’t think you kill yourself over a bag of weed. There has to be more to it.”

Neighbors said they thought Dell’s was a legit family business -- the company is 67 years old and was reporting a resurgence in sales.

“It doesn’t make sense that it would be a front; I mean, they’re a legitimate business. They’ve been around for a long time,” Joe Morrine, owner of Recycled Brooklyn, told CBS. “Just a normal business operating; you know, lots of forklifts moving things in and out; nice people.”

 
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