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Jury selection starts in Duluth synthetic drug case

MINNEAPOLIS -- Jury selection in the case of a Duluth business owner accused of selling illegal drugs begins today, with U.S. District Court Judge David S. Dotyacknowledging it may be hard to find jurors who are unaware of the Last Place on Earth head shop, even in Minneapolis.

Jim Carlson is charged with 55 federal offenses in connection with the sale of synthetic drugs at the downtown Duluth business. His girlfriend, Lava Haugen, and son, Joseph Gellerman, also are named on some of the charges. The three are being tried together, which is standard in federal cases.

In addition to charges related to selling and distributing controlled substances, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is trying the case on federal labeling laws.

Once a jury is seated, attorneys will make opening statements. The prosecution’s first witnesses might be called before the day is over.

The sides agreed to tell the jury the case should last about three weeks. Proscecutors said it would take about two weeks to call about 30 witnesses. The defense expects to need two or three days.

It’s likely that the defendants will take the stand, attorneys said.


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