NEW YORK - It could almost be a scene out of hit television program "Breaking Bad."
A New York factory that cranks out maraschino cherries gave up its sweetest secret when police raided on an unrelated environmental matter only to uncover a large-scale marijuana operation, before the owner promptly killed himself.
Arthur Mondella, 57, owner of the family-run Dell's Maraschino Cherries in Brooklyn, calmly excused himself to police, headed to the restroom, and shot himself dead, local media reported.
Investigators were about to find marijuana being grown and sold from a basement cellar that was hidden behind a fake wall and shelves at the plant, one of the largest processors of maraschino cherries in the United States.
A faint smell alerted them to the marijuana, one news report said, while another said that they were acting on a tipoff that the warehouse was a front for drugs.
New York police confirmed Tuesday's incident but gave no additional details.
However local tabloids reported that police seized 36 kilos (79 pounds) of pot and massive amounts of cash -- hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Several luxury cars were also recovered, including a Rolls-Royce, a Porsche and Harley-Davidson motorbike.
Before shooting himself once in the head, Mondella reportedly told his sister: "Take care of my kids."
The company's website says it has been in operation for over 67 years.