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DULUTH-Federal investigations continued into Duluth head shop "The Last Place On Earth" this week as at least two employees received "target letters" requesting testimony about synthetic drugs and their boss Jim Carlson.
The evidence collected could lead to an indictment, federal authorities said (in regards to what target letters typically mean). It will be up to a grand jury whether or not Carlson should be charged for selling illegal drugs.
That's a big deal because the average felony guilty sentence in federal court (across all charges) brings at least five years in prison with no chance of parole.
At least one employee at "The Last Place On Earth" has already given testimony to federal investigators, Carlson said.
"They're working on a grand jury investigation. We got raided over a month ago by the feds," Carlson said.
What was taken in the July 25 search warrant execution is still unclear but about one year ago in a Duluth Police led raid authorities seized 4,500 packet and 14 gallon sized bags filled with allegedly illegal drugs, according to court documents.
"In one year the city still hasn't done a thing – keeping my money and guns. And then the feds come raid us and still no charges. They said right off that they had no evidence if I was doing anything wrong and they're just looking to see if I'm doing anything wrong," Carlson said.
Federal authorities say target letters "put subjects of investigations on notice that the government will be seeking documents and information to determine if a criminal case will be filed."
Investigators, however, said they cannot comment specifically because it could affect their case.
Carlson, who is also in the middle of a nuisance business dispute with the city, said he will not be put away for his product line despite Bureau of Criminal Apprehension tests finding banned chemicals on his drugs.
"I have firm belief in a jury trial. My legal counsel has told me that what I'm selling is legal," Carlson said.
More than 500 stores in Minnesota sell synthetic cannabinoids, Carlson said.