The government visited a Red Hook maraschino cherry company because of complaints about illegal dumping in the water near the plant. Normal story, at least for a little while, but it ended with the owner of the cherry plant killing himself when police stumbled on a false wall hiding what they later described as a Breaking Bad-style underground weed growing operation, according to the Daily News.
The operation was discovered during questioning related to how Dell’s Maraschino Cherries disposes of their waste syrup, which the Department of Environmental Protection accused the company of dumping into the nearby water. During the questioning, police say they noticed shelving that appeared to hold a false wall, and when they asked owner Arthur Mondella about it, he went to a bathroom and shot himself with a pistol.
Police searching the factory after the suicide found 80 pounds of pot and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash in the factory itself, before opening the secret entrance to reveal an enormous growing operation that one police source described to the News as a “really ‘Breaking Bad.'” Rack up another accidental bust for the drug war.