Jim Carlson's son allegedly sold bath salt used in recent overdose to an undercover agent

Categories: Crime, Drugs
jim carlson mug.jpg
Store photo from keithinalaska.wordpress.com
Carlson's mugshot as he was booked into jail last Friday.
Duluth officials regard The Last Place on Earth as a scourge on downtown and have been open about their desire to shut it down for some time. They got a perfect opportunity to do so when Jim Carlson's son allegedly sold an illegal bath salt to an undercover agent early last month.

THE BACKSTORY: Jim Carlson, owner of Last Place on Earth, arrested, says "The Nazis got me again"

According to a criminal complaint, Carlson's son, Joseph Gellerman, sold Riptipe, a purported bath salt that was found on a recent Duluth-area overdose victim, to an undercover member of the Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crime Task Force on March 5. The sealed silver baggies the agent purchased were then sent to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, where they were determined to contain an illegal stimulant that is a Schedule 1 controlled substance under Minnesota law.

Undercover agents returned four more times last month and purchased substances (including Everest) that were also determined to be illegal.

Carlson was arrested last Friday, just three days before he planned to begin closing his store at 11 p.m. -- two hours later than the standard 9 p.m. closing time. Now, Last Place on Earth is shuttered while Carlson remains in jail pending $480,000 bail.

For perspective on how Duluth and St. Louis County officials regard Last Place on Earth and the products it sells, consider that both Mayor Don Ness and St. Louis County Attorney Mark Rubin recently characterized substances like Riptide and Everest as "poisons" infecting downtown.

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13 comments
Chelsea Morningstar
Chelsea Morningstar

T-Bob, did you notice how nice his hair looked during his arrest? He had to have been expecting it, because it was clean, combed, and as glossy as Kim Kardashian's.

Chelsea Morningstar
Chelsea Morningstar

I think that the currently illegal "real" hard drugs should be legalized and sold by government-regulated pharmacies, the same way some states run liquor stores. That would guarantee a clean product, most of which are safer to use than the synthetics. Pure methamphetamine has less risk of causing psychosis than bath salts. That fake marijuana crap can be deadly, but it's rare that unadulterated marijuana causes serious health issues. I'm basing these ideas from what we learned from alcohol prohibition--that a regulated product tends to result in less death from tainted product, puts unethical bootleggers out of business, and raises state revenues. The customers would be ID'ed, the product taxed, and the revenues could be used for expanding treatment options. Since current treatment modalities don't work on many addicts, new methods are needed, and as well, actual legalization of drugs (as opposed to decriminalization) would lower the stigma attached to admitting that one has a problem--in my personal experience, I've seen that it is more socially acceptable to admit to alcohol abuse than to drug abuse. As for Last Place, the only issue I have with it is that he doesn't maintain his storefront well. Just like in front of liquor stores, the loitering should not be tolerated. He should make sure minors are not entering the store or purchasing the products. And he should repaint that damn sign--he's a multimillionaire, he can afford to make his business look decent. The only reason he lets the storefront look like crap and the loitering to continue is because he likes to piss off the police. You don't see that at Pure Pleasure. They have a strict policy regarding loitering and behavior on their property, and they sell paraphernalia and strictly legal chemical enhancers, yet they don't have the same problems as Last Place.

Edward Bertsch
Edward Bertsch

Would have been helpful to sell a few hot tubs in the place, then the "bath salts" would have had a plausible use...

T-Bob Gross
T-Bob Gross

he will probably get a light sentence because of his good looks.

krue0295
krue0295

yes, the last place on earth hurts "the pretty sensibilities of the affluent Duluth", but for the most part, the store hurts much of the lower class impoverished adults of Duluth, and Duluth citizens and city council are fighting for them as well.  These are not "numbskull teenagers" that are using these drugs, they are typically parents on welfare with their young children waiting unsupervised outside in the van while they beg passersby's for spare change to get high again.  I am a liberal minded lower income young adult and know that yes, the city wants the store to close because of business and residents of the downtown area, but mostly they want to give these people a chance to get on the road to recovery.  Unless you live here and see the effects, its truly hard to explain how bad it actually is.  

Curtis Meyer
Curtis Meyer

Everyone knows if you want to supply vice, you need to open a legit business first, go to church, grease some palms, and sponsor an annual 5k. After that, it takes a lot of overdosed kids to get arrested and shut down. Or one wealthy, teen, football-team captain. (But that can be glossed over if his family doesn't want the bad publicity.). Either way, claim ignorance and blame someone else. That's the American way.

Curtis Meyer
Curtis Meyer

Basically, they do this to any business they want to bankrupt and shut down. They do it to bars, all-ages venues, and bodegas all the time. If you don't like a business, or if a business attracts the "wrong" clientele, send in the fire department to count ashtrays. Send in the tax agents to comb the books. Arrest somebody on the other side of town and link the crime. Give the evidence to a prosecutor who likes seeing their name in the paper. Duluth is a bland place full of bland people, and that's how they like it.

Jesse Lynn Leno
Jesse Lynn Leno

What's the difference on where the store is?? Outta sight outta mind right?? Move all the unsightly things that make Duluth look bad right?? That doesn't solve a thing.

therightreverendlarr
therightreverendlarr

I get that Jim Carlson is Duluth's Public Enemy #1. I get that government officials hate nothing more than a man who refuses to bow to their political imtimidation. What I don't get is why Last Place on Earth gets all the blame for selling totally legitimate items that some numbskull teenager decides will be his drink for the night and dies from it. Let's be honest, if we were truly interested in going after actual horrific crime actors, Last Place on Earth would be the last place on earth we would descend upon. But the store hurts the pretty sensibilities of the affluent Duluth politico.

I detest gangs of any style and the city officials, the police and the District Attorney are the worst gangs of all. Because you have no redress. They are the judge, jury and executioner.

Jim Carlson is a stubborn man. He's a proud man and obviously a driven man. Determined to fight till he can fight no more.

But a common criminal, worthy of a $480,000 bail, ludicrously higher than the average rapist or violent thug?

Please.

I would urge both he and his lawyer, to demand a jury trial. Surely there is one American in the state of Minnesota who can see that the government's case is UTTER BULLSHIT!

Logan Erickson
Logan Erickson

City's been trying to close him down for years. Hope it finally happens. There's been nothing but head ache from his store since it moved. At least get it out of downtown.

Brad Bergerson
Brad Bergerson

If it was sold to an undercover agent, how was it used in an overdose? That does not make sense.

Monica Simons
Monica Simons

Chelsea Morningstar what do you think about this?

CinBlueland
CinBlueland topcommenter

Yes! The drive to make everything on Superior street a non profit continues.. Population 1/2 of what it was in the 70s, lets continue to drive any and all business away.

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