NEW YORK (AP/PIX11) — Authorities say the owner of a cherry factory in Brooklyn killed himself as city and state officials were searching his building for possible environmental crimes.
However, while looking for such violations, police found a marijuana growing operation going on inside 57-year-old Arthur Mondella's Dell's Maraschino Cherries warehouse in Red Hook, according to a Daily News report.
The Brooklyn district attorney's office released a statement Tuesday saying Mondella went to his private bathroom inside the building and shot himself during the investigation.
Officials say Mondella, who had been cooperating with the search, was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The district attorney's office said no further information was available at this time.
The report says investigators were looking into Dell's Maraschino Cherries for illegally dumping potentially hazardous materials and chemicals in the sewer system, but started smelling marijuana somewhere in the building and inquired about it.
The company's website says it was founded in 1948 and became one of the largest processors of maraschino cherries in the country.
A telephone message seeking comment from the company was not immediately returned.