Duluth's Last Place on Earth raided as new synthetic drug crackdown goes into effect
|Star Tribune video screengrab|
|Officers storm Last Place during yesterday's raid.|
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Jim Carlson, owner of Duluth's Last Place on Earth, has made millions of dollars selling synthetic drugs -- in fact, he estimated his store sold $6 million worth of synthetic marijuana and stimulants last year alone.
But the good times may be nearing an end. Yesterday, Last Place was raided by federal agents, and today, Gov. Dayton held a somewhat bizarre bill-signing ceremony for a synthetic drug crackdown that was approved by the legislature... in April.
Yesterday's raid began just before noon when a city bus stopped outside Last Place's downtown storefront. Out popped about two dozen officers. They rushed into the store and placed a number of customers in plastic handcuffs. Two were arrested for outstanding warrants unrelated to the synthetic drug crackdown.
Robert Miller, a Duluth resident who saw the raid unfold, told WDIO TV that the officers -- some federal agents, others Duluth police -- "had fully automatic weapons and full body armor. It looked like they were going to war."
Carlson is apparently fishing in Alaska, but his girlfriend and business partner, Lava Haugen, told the Star Tribune that authorities, with search warrant in tow, seized at least $20,000 worth of herbal incense, as well as files, invoices, business records, and guns Carlson stores on the premises. Officers finally left after 4 p.m.
It was the second time Last Place was raided in the last year. In September, Duluth police seized more than $50,000 worth of incense, cash, electronics, and guns from Carlson's store.
In a statement, Duluth police said the yesterday's raid had been in the works for many months.