The recently diseased owner of the Dell’s Brooklyn maraschino cherry factory in Red Hook seems to have had an alternate life – at least according to investigators with the local police department.
Arthur Mondella, the 57-year-old factory owner killed himself shortly after cops began to investigate him on suspicion of dealing drugs. Mondella was housing nearly 1,200 marijuana plants beneath the factory.
Detectives figure the factory was a chosen to house these plants largely because the strong saccharine smell of cocktail cherries helped mask the marijuana smell, and there was no suspicion from the power company for excess usage because the factory understandably constantly uses great amounts of energy.
Since their discovery, officials have been able to find out very little about how Mr. Mondella ran his operation and who, if anyone, was helping him. His maraschino cherry company was fairly successful and he seemed to have everything he desired, even expensive luxury cars he often showcased parked in front of the factory.
Investigators can’t seem how to piece together why Mondella did this or how exactly he managed to run the marijuana grow under the cherry factory without anyone knowing. They thought the contents of his cell phone might explain some things a little further, but due to its encryption they haven’t been able unlock the phone.
For now detectives, are focusing on interviewing those who knew Mr. Mondella hoping that they will find some leads. With many questions unanswered about his operation, many people are starting to speculate that he was involved in some sort of organized crime, but there has yet to be evidence recovered that supports that claim.