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Last Place on Earth closes again after Carlson arrested on gun charge

Customers walk to the entrance of the Last Place on Earth on Superior Street in downtown Duluth to find the store closed Wednesday night after owner Jim Carlson was arrested on a federal gun charge. (Clint Austin /

The reopening of Last Place on Earth didn’t last long. Jim Carlson was back in jail Wednesday night, this time on a federal gun charge.

Carlson opened his store Tuesday evening after posting bail and being released from St. Louis County Jail. He and his son, Joseph Gellerman, were arrested Friday on charges of selling an illegal substance, a powder-like product that police said contained chemicals banned by state law.

Gellerman posted bail late Monday.

Duluth police said they received a call from the U.S. Marshals Service saying Carlson was in violation of terms surrounding his pending federal charges after a gun was found at the store during the downtown raid Friday.

Carlson was arrested just after 8 p.m. and the store was closed shortly after that.

Duluth police spokesman Jim Hansen said Carlson will have to appear before a federal magistrate judge before having any opportunity for bail.

Hansen said Carlson was cooperative and there was no incident at the store at the time of the arrest.

Hansen said the federal conditions bar Carlson from having a firearm on his person or at the store.

Jim Carlson

The arrest and closure occurred just more than 24 hours after the store that sells controversial synthetic drugs opened after Carlson was let out of jail.

The store had been closed for about four days while Carlson was in jail. The regular overflowing crowd was back at the store when it reopened Tuesday night and into Wednesday.

Carlson and Gellerman are expected in court April 24 on the charges filed Monday. They face four counts of the sale of a Schedule I controlled substance in the fourth degree. The charges resulted from five alleged sales of a controlled stimulant to undercover law enforcement officers, according to the St. Louis County Attorney’s office.

The federal case involves the two men, Carlson’s girlfriend and a former employer. It stems from a July raid on the store. That trial is expected to begin in September.

The federal indictment alleges that Carlson and employees of Last Place violated the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the Controlled Substances Act and the Controlled Substances Analogue Enforcement Act.

In addition to charging the store employees with distribution of controlled substances and analogues, or close copies of controlled substances, the government is using consumer laws on product labeling to prosecute the case.

All four defendants have pleaded not guilty.

Article written by Mike Creger of the Duluth News Tribune

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