Jury begins deliberations in trial on synthetic drugs

Author:
Updated:
Original:

Jury deliberations are underway in the trial of a Duluth headshop owner who stands accused of selling banned synthetic drugs.

Jim Carlson, the owner of the Last Place on Earth, his girlfriend and his son are all facing multiple counts of illegally selling banned synthetic drugs by "misbranding" them as incense, bath salts, watch cleaner and other names.

The Star Tribune reports, that the case went to the jury around 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.

Carlson, 56, faces 55 charges, while his girlfriend, Lava Haugen, 33, and son, Joseph Gellerman, 34, face four counts each. Both were employees of the store.

According to the Duluth News Tribune, defense attorney John Markham told jurors that the Last Place on Earth may have been a revolting place, but that didn't make the business illegal.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Surya Saxena argued though that because the defendants business was extremely profitable, they knowingly violated federal laws, or at least avoided knowledge of the laws.

The federal trial is in its third week.

Carlson has been an outspoken critic of the government's crackdown on synthetic drugs, saying the laws used to prosecute sellers have been "unconstitutionally vague."

Next Up

eden prairie police squad car

Carjacking reported outside shopping center in Eden Prairie

One of the suspects reportedly displayed a weapon.

court gavel

8 people charged in Medicaid fraud scheme totaling $860K

Collectively, they're charged with 46 counts of felony theft.

vaping

Minnesota gets mixed grades on its tobacco report card

In Minnesota, the economic cost due to smoking is $2.519 million with 5,910 deaths per year attributed to smoking.

Hardy Wills-Traxler

Charges: Man stabbed his father, set his home on fire

The 25-year-old has been charged with second-degree murder and first-degree arson.

Impound lot

Crowded impound lot raises COVID concerns after Minneapolis snow emergency

A vehicle owner complains about the tightly-packed impound lot following the weekend's snow.

covid-19, coronavirus

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Wednesday, Jan. 27

The latest update from the state health department.

charley's

Charges: Bar owner, employee served underage drinkers during shutdown

The bar hosted 20-30 people on Dec. 4, 2020, charges say.

police lights

Driver wearing bulletproof vest strikes pedestrian in Rochester

The 21-year-old claimed the vest keeps him warm, according to police.

Screen Shot 2019-08-19 at 8.08.05 PM

6 men charged in connection to 'disturbing trend' of carjackings, shootings

The men are accused of three carjackings in one day, as well as other crimes.

Related