Duluth leaders react to Jim Carlson's conviction

By KBJR News 1

October 7, 2013 Updated Oct 7, 2013 at 11:00 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Duluth city leaders and law enforcement officials spoke out following Monday's unprecedented ruling.

Officials say Monday's verdict should send a strong message to not only the Northland, but the Nation that synthetic drugs should not be sold.

"This is really exciting news, both for Duluth as well as for the state of Minnesota," said Rep., Erik Simonson (DFL-Duluth).

Duluth Representative, Erik Simonson who spearheads the Committee on Controlled Substances and Synthetic Drugs calls Monday's federal verdict against Jim Carlson, unprecedented and hopes this will put an end to the selling of synthetic drugs.

"I'm hoping this sends a really strong message to the folks that are selling these things that the time now is to stop and sends an even stronger message to the folks that are thinking of maybe selling these things in the future that this is not going to be tolerated any longer," said Simonson.

On Monday, a federal jury found Carlson guilty on 51 felony charges, including multiple counts of delivering misbranded drugs to the public.

Duluth Mayor Don Ness along with Police Chief Gordon Ramsay, and City Attorney Gunnar Johnson, shared their relief that the long two-year battle against synthetics is now behind them.

"An overwhelming sense of relief that his has been a very long time coming and a lot of uncertainty, a lot of uncertainty for the community, for all of those who have given so much time and energy in combating this problem," said Duluth Mayor Don Ness.

Police Chief Ramsay says the thousands of hours his team spent fighting synthetic drugs was worth it in the long run.

"This impacted a lot of families, and a lot of people, and their lives are forever altered because of these drugs," said Chief Gordon Ramsay.

And as Carlson sits behind bars facing an uncertain future, leaders say this decision is only the beginning in the effort to stop the spread of synthetics drugs.

"Being in jail is a good thing, obviously for all of us, but we still have more work to do and we're going to finish that work and we're going to focus on educational concepts," said Simonson.

Carlson was taken into custody shortly after the verdicts were read and is expected to be sentenced in the coming weeks.

Leading up to Monday's conviction, prosecutors had said Carlson was looking at facing a maximum punishment of 900 years behind bars if found guilty on all 55 counts.

Carlson will be formally sentenced in late October.

Jeremy Brickley
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