Judge rules 'Last Place on Earth' owner trying to hide Mexican property

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The Duluth head shop owner convicted of misbranding synthetic drugs and laundering the money will have to forfeit property he owns in Mexico, according to the Duluth News Tribune. U.S. District Court Judge David Doty made the ruling after the prosecution provided evidence that Jim Carlson was trying to transfer ownership to his girlfriend from his jail cell.

The Star Tribune reports authorities recorded phone calls last month between Carlson and his girlfriend, Lava Haugen, who has also been convicted in the case. Prosecutors said Carlson was trying to move a villa in Cozumel and other property to Haugen, and give her power of attorney.

“It appears that the two are attempting to transfer title of a Cozumel, Mexico, property in order to attempt to complicate or avoid its forfeiture," the prosecution wrote. "They may also be authorizing Haugen to take control over corporate accounts subject to forfeiture to minimize the potential forfeiture from those accounts.”

Carlson is in Sherburne County jail awaiting sentencing. He was convicted on 51 counts in October for sales at his downtown Duluth head shop, called Last Place on Earth. Last week, Judge Doty denied a motion to release Carlson before sentencing.

Doty's order said that in addition to the Mexican property, Carlson must forfeit the store, $6,5 million in profits, guns and vehicles, property in Aitkin County and Nevada, and $183,724 cash found in his Superior home.

Carlson's attorney, Randall Tigue, said sentencing has been delayed while prosecutors search for all Carlson's assets.

"They're taking everything he owns away," Tigue said. He told the Duluth newspaper he would appeal the forfeiture.

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