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Feds raid Duluth head shop in national drug sweep

Officers charged in guns drawn and rounded up customers at The Last Place on Earth shop. It was part of a nationwide federal crackdown Wednesday on dealers who peddle what health experts consider the latest illegal drug epidemic: man-made chemicals designed to mimic marijuana, ecstasy and other illegal drugs.
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Bewildered customers at The Last Place on Earth counterculture shop in Duluth were stunned to see officers with guns drawn raid the place during the noon hour Wednesday, the Duluth News Tribune reports. On Aug. 1, new state regulations will increase the penalty for selling certain compounds designed to mimic the effects of controlled substances, and a salesperson could be prosecuted as a felon and be sentenced to five years of imprisonment, the newspaper says.

Michele Leonhart, an administrator with the Drug Enforcement Agency, scheduled a news briefing for Thursday to announce "Operation Log Jam," a "takedown" of synthetic-drug dealers in 100 cities across the country, the Star Tribune reports. Duluth's raid apparently was the only one in Minnesota.

The owner of the shop says he plans to continue to sell synthetics even after the raid in which officers took his money, guns, books, car, and synthetic drugs, Northland's Newscenter reports.

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Related

Duluth head shop owner sues feds over store raid

The owner of The Last Place on Earth in Duluth sued the federal government this week stemming from a raid by the Drug Enforcement Agency in July, Agents reportedly seized a large amount of the store's inventory, including two vehicles and $3 million in cash.

Police raided head shop owner's bank accounts, too

Duluth police say their raid at The Last Place on Earth netted 20,000 packs of what they suspect is synthetic marijuana. Meanwhile, authorities were also seizing $2.8 million from the bank accounts of the shop's owner, Jim Carlson. The raid was part of a national crackdown on suspected sellers of synthetic drugs.

Police raid Duluth head shop for designer drugs

Over a dozen officers stormed the shop -- going through files and boxing up items. One person was arrested. The shop's owner says he's not selling any substances officially listed as banned in the state -- but acknowledged he operates in a gray area.

Customers seeking synthetic drugs line up outside Duluth shop

Reports that "designer drugs" can have harmful side effects don't seem to be deterring many customers. Dozens of people line up outside Last Place on Earth in Duluth every weekday to buy chemicals that supposedly mimic the effects of illegal drugs. The store's owner says he expects the chemicals will bring in about $6 million in business this year.

Judge rejects Duluth head shop's lawsuit over ban on synthetic drugs

The Last Place on Earth in Duluth and two other synthetic drug retailers say they'll appeal the judge's decision. State lawmakers earlier this year passed a ban on synthetic drugs and their "analogs." The retailers argue the law is vague and incomprehensible to anyone besides experts. The judge who tossed out the suit says the retailers don't have enough evidence to back their claims.

Duluth head shop will likely face charges over selling synthetic pot

An attorney for St. Louis County tells the Duluth News Tribune he expects to file charges against the Last Place on Earth. Police raided the shop in September and reportedly took synthetic marijuana, cash and 31 guns. The shop claims that was illegal search and seizure.

Crowd gathers for court hearing on fate of Duluth head shop

Supporters and detractors of The Last Place on Earth head shop in Duluth gathered in a Duluth courtroom Friday as a judge heard arguments on whether the business should be shut down.