A federal judge has denied a motion to release Jim Carlson, the owner of a Duluth head shop who was convicted of selling synthetic drugs, before his sentencing.
U.S. District Judge David Doty issued an order Wednesday saying that Carlson must remain in jail, where he is awaiting sentencing on 51 felony counts including misbranding of synthetic drugs, conspiring to distribute them, and money transactions derived from their illegal sale.
Carlson, 56, the owner of the Last Place on Earth, was convicted Oct. 7 after a two-week trial. His girlfriend, Lava Marie Haugen, 33, was convicted on four counts, including conspiracy, and his son Joseph Gellerman, 35, was convicted of two misdemeanors. Haugen and Gellerman remain free pending sentencing.
Carlson’s attorney, Randall Tigue, filed the motion to release Carlson as well as motions for acquittal and a new trial,which is expected to be the basis for a subsequent appeal to the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
In a court filing, prosecutor Surya Saxena urged the motions be rejected and that Carlson not be released, saying “testimony of multiple drug users and expert witnesses at trial demonstrates that Mr. Carlson’s conduct does create a severe danger to the community.”
Doty said in his order that “there is not a substantial likelihood that the motions for acquittal and for a new trial will be granted.”
He also noted that the government did not indicate it will recommend that no sentence be imposed.
Tigue previously said Carlson could face 10 to 20 years in prison.
No sentencing date has been set.
Randy Furst • 612-673-4224