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Sentencing set for Duluth shop owner in synthetic drug case

Forum News Service

MINNEAPOLIS -- Sentencing for a Duluth head shop owner convicted of synthetic drug crimes has been set for Aug. 14 in Minneapolis, his attorney said.

Attorney Randall Tigue said he was notified of the hearing Thursday morning.

In October, a federal jury in Minneapolis found Jim Carlson, 57, guilty of 51 crimes in relation to the sale of synthetic drugs at his shop, Last Place on Earth. Also convicted was Carlson’s girlfriend, Lava Haugen, on four counts, and his son, Joseph Gellerman, on two counts.

Attorneys received a finalized presentence investigation July 3. Tigue said the report remains largely unchanged from the preliminary version, which called for a 20- to 40-year sentence for Carlson.

Tigue said that with the report comes the understanding that he and fellow attorneys can argue for lesser sentences, based on their clients’ beliefs that their conduct was lawful.

Defense attorneys also have said they will appeal the case to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Carlson’s store has not operated since July 19, 2013, when it was shut down by a judge’s order.