One of the faces of the poker boom in the mid-aughts is heading to prison after pleading guilty to running an illegal marijuana distribution business in California.
Shahram Sheikhan, known as “Shawn” or “The Shiek” in the poker world, but referred to as “Sean” by the Feds, was charged by the Department of Justice for supplying the Devil’s lettuce to unlicensed and illegal marijuana dispensaries in Southern California, as well as directly to customers, through their company Cannaland from 2019 through his arrest in 2021.
Sheikhan, 52, and partner in crime Sabriana Williams, 26, plead guilty in June 2022 for various charges from running the business which, according to the Feds, distributed 6,600 pounds of marijuana to illegal dispensaries in San Diego. The two were facing sentences of up to 40 years and a $5 million fine each.
Sheikhan had already forfeited $300,000 in cash that was seized at the start of the investigation.
The pair were also accused of “personally coordinating and facilitating the procurement of replacement firearms for the business’ armed security guards and continued to operate their business and distribute vast amounts of marijuana” after being charged, according to a June press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of California.
The release goes on to detail how Sheikhan and Williams were part of an underground marijuana dispensary industry that generated about a quarter-million dollars between five shops each week.
Although he plead guilty in 2022, his sentencing hearing was delayed multiple times because of his own and a family member’s health issues.
It won’t be Sheikhan’s first time slept behind bars when he reports to jail the first day of 2024. In 1995, he spent nine months in jail after being convicted of a misdemeanor involving charges of sexual battery and annoyance or molestation of a child.
That part of his past was revealed in 2007 after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security tried to have Sheikhan deported back to his birth country Iran over it. But because the records of his crime were destoyed, a U.S. Immigration Judge dismissed the case.
Heels of 2005 WSOP Main Event
Sheikhan entered the poker-hive’s consciousness in 2005, not for securing his best lifetime cash of $600,000 for finishing 11th in the Main Event, but for butting heads with one of the biggest head-butters of all time, Mike “The Mouth” Matusow.
“Matusow and The Sheik are not kindred spirits,” said Norman Chad on the ESPN broadcast. “Like oil and water,” Lon McEcheron chimed in.
It was a hand that Sheikhan wasn’t in that started it all after he reacted dramatically to a flop that obvious hit his mucked cards.
“You know we’re in a hand, you need to shut the fuck. up,” said Matusow. “You cannot talk about a hand when we’re in a hand. We’re playing for a lot of money. “
But Sheikhan wouldn’t back off.
That was the fuse that lit the rest of the day between the two, which, fortunately for poker fans, saw the two repeatedly battle after they both were made to take a 10-minute time-out.
The clip has been viewed more than a million times, and will never go away.
Sheihkan went on to appear on several episodes of “High Stakes Poker” and “Poker After Dark” and has popped-up here and there playing tournament poker. He even played in the Main Event in 2022, days after he entered his guilty plea. He didn’t cash. According to the Hendon Mob, he has $1.5 million in tournament poker winnings.