Former Duluth business owner Jim Carlson has been sentenced to 17 and a half years in federal prison for charges related to the sale of synthetic drugs at the now-closed "Last Place on Earth."
U.S. District Judge David Doty handed down the sentence in a Minneapolis federal courtroom this afternoon after several hours of statements. Carlson will also pay a $25,000 fine, a $4,500 special assessment, and be on supervised release for three years following his time in prison. There is no parole in the federal system.
Last October, a jury convicted Carlson on 51 counts. He has been behind bars since then.
Carlson gave a 20-minute statement saying he felt unfairly singled out for prosecution. He argued that dozens of other stores and countless Internet sites sell synthetics.
Doty rejected an argument from Carlson's attorney that Carlson believed what he was selling was legal. Doty said the jury in the case decided it was not.
Later in the afternoon, Lava Haugen, Carlson's former girlfriend, was sentenced to five years in federal prison. She had been convicted on four counts.
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