Carlson Guilty on 51 Counts

Posted at: 10/07/2013 1:42 PM
Updated at: 10/07/2013 8:30 PM

A federal jury in Minneapolis has convicted Duluth store owner Jim Carlson on 51 of the 55 counts against him in a closely watched federal trial.

Jim Carlson and two others were charged in a 55-count indictment involving sales from Carlson's Duluth shop, Last Place on Earth.  The verdict was announced Monday afternoon after deliberations split over three days.

Carlson was held in custody pending a sentencing hearing, which will be held later this month.

Carlson's attorney, Randall Tigue, said the defense would seek a new trial.  Prosecutors could not comment because of the government shutdown.

Carlson was convicted on charges of:

Carlson was found not guilty on four counts, including two additional counts of Monetary Transactions in Property Derived From Specified Unlawful Activity, an additional count of Distribution of a Controlled Substance, and Possession with the Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance.

Carlson's girlfriend, Lava Marie Haugen, was convicted of Conspiracy to Commit Offense against the United States, Delivery of Misbranded Drugs Received in Interstate Commerce, Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substance Analogues, and Doing Acts Resulting in Drugs Being Misbranded While Held for Sale.

Carlson's son, Joseph Gellerman, was convicted on two counts of Delivery of Misbranded Drugs Received in Interstate Commerce.  Gellerman was found not guilty of Conspiracy to Commit Offense against the United States and Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substance Analogues.

Prosecutors had said the defendants knew they were selling recreation drugs that people would use to get high. Carlson didn't deny selling the products, but his attorneys argued he did nothing illegal.

The trial was seen as one of the first major tests in federal court of how effectively authorities can combat synthetic drugs.

(Copyright 2013 WDIO-TV, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.  The Associated Press contributed to this report.)