This is the saddest small business story ever

February 25, 2015, 3:47 PM UTC
Dell's Maraschino Cherries Company
Dells Cherry, in Red Hook, produces about 33% of the Maraschino cherries in the United States.
Photograph by Richard Perry — The New York Times/Redux

A raid on the country’s largest manufacturer of maraschino cherries had a sad ending Tuesday.

Arthur Mondella, the 57-year-old owner of Dell’s Maraschino Cherries, committed suicide after authorities raided his Brooklyn factory, according to the New York Post. The factory was suspected of being used to grow marijuana, sources told the Post.

Authorities allegedly removed a false door in the facility and smelled weed, at which point Mondella excused himself to use the bathroom and shot himself.

Dell’s sells the sugary cherries, used in drinks both hard and soft, to restaurants including Red Lobster and TGI Fridays.

Technically, the raid was not to search for drugs, as authorities couldn’t get a warrant to do that. Instead, the official reason for the visit was to investigate illegal dumping of waste.