Judge: Feds can keep $750K stashed in home of Duluth head shop owner


U.S. District Judge David Doty ruled Monday that the federal government can keep more than $750,000 seized last month from the home of Duluth head shop owner Jim Carlson, the Forum News Service reports.

Prosecutors in the case said authorities found the cash in the home of Carlson and his girlfriend, Lava Haugen, on Dec. 18, totaling $767,346. Most of it was wrapped up in plastic and hidden behind a bathroom cabinet, officials say.

Police say a gallon-sized bag of illegal drugs was also seized during the raid.

The Duluth News Tribune says police also seized body armor, ammunition and high-capacity magazines in the search, conducted by Duluth and Superior officers and the Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crime Task Force.

The Forum News Service says authorities have already seized numerous assets from Carlson, including his Last Place on Earth head shop in Duluth, vacation property in Mexico, two vehicles, and nearly $3.5 million in cash and bank accounts.

Carlson was found guilty in October of more than 50 federal counts related to selling synthetic drugs. He is being held in Sherburne County Jail in Elk River.

Haugen was found guilty on four counts and Carlson's son, Joseph Gellerman, was found guilty on two.

Doty issued a second order Monday that declared Haugen jointly responsible for the forfeiture of more than $6.53 million, the amount the Internal Revenue Service estimated the couple made from illegal synthetic drug sales, the Forum News Service says.

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