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Minnesota head shop owner gets 17½ years in prison for selling synthetic drugs

The owner of a now-closed Minnesota head shop has been sentenced to 17½ years in prison for selling synthetic drugs.

Federal prosecutors asked a judge Thursday to make an example out of Jim Carlson, who was convicted on 51 counts related to selling synthetic drugs from his Duluth shop, Last Place on Earth.

Carlson gave a 20-minute statement saying he felt unfairly singled out. He says he believed what he was selling was legal, arguing that many other stores and countless Internet sites sell the synthetics.

The drugs mimic marijuana, illegal stimulants and hallucinogens, and can have dangerous side effects.

Prosecutors say the sentence handed down Thursday sends a strong message that synthetic drugs are illegal and dangerous.

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