California Candidate Leads Lodi City Council Race Despite Money Laundering, Illegal Gaming Arrest

Posted on: November 8, 2020, 11:59h. 

Last updated on: November 9, 2020, 09:38h.

The leading candidate in last week’s election for a city council seat in Lodi, Calif. was arrested late last month after being accused of laundering money and running an illegal gaming operation.

Shak Khan
Shak Khan, running for a city council seat in Lodi, Calif., was arrested a week before the election on accusations of money laundering and running an illegal gaming operation. He has denied the allegations and currently is the top vote-getter in the race. (Image: Shak Khan for Lodi District 4/Facebook)

According to the Sacramento Bee, sheriff’s officers in San Joaquin County arrested Shakir Khan on Oct. 28 after a search warrant was executed at the American Smokers Club in Stockton, Calif.

The arrest occurred just three days before extended voting began in the city leading up to Tuesday’s election. Khan was one of four candidates running for the District 4 seat on Lodi’s City Council, which covers the eastern portion of the city.

Lodi is about 30 miles south of Sacramento, and Stockton is about 10 miles south of Lodi in California’s Central Valley.

Khan’s lawyer told Sacramento’s KXTV-TV on Thursday that county prosecutors have yet to file charges in the case.

Media reports have indicated that Khan, whose name appears as Shak Khan on the ballot, is the owner of the Stockton business. However, in a statement on his Facebook campaign site, Khan denied that he owned the California establishment.

A query for case files on the San Joaquin Superior Court website uncovered a possession of a slot machine charge Khan faced in August 2019. However, prosecutors dismissed that charge on Oct. 15, 2019.

Candidate Lashes Out Against Arrest

Among the chief issues for Khan in his campaign were reducing crime and blight in his city. He noted his experience working as an Army intelligence contractor overseas, saying he would work to make sure the Lodi Police Department got what it needs to address gangs, drugs, and public safety.

Two days after his arrest, the candidate posted on his campaign’s Facebook page that he strongly denied the allegations and urged voters not to be swayed by “smear tactics” in the election.

I believe my political opponents have concocted this allegation to damage my reputation and campaign for Lodi City Council,” he said.

Khan also made a video statement on his personal Facebook page on Oct. 29 where the 32-year-old spoke in Urdu, the language of Pakistanis. Khan, who grew up as a child in Lodi and returned there after serving seven years as a military contractor, again denied the money laundering and gaming allegations.

“I want to thank you guys very much,” said Khan, per Google Translate. “You guys have fully supported me in this election.”

Early Results Show Big Lead

According to the San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters, Khan currently leads the race with 555 votes, or 46.5 percent of the total in the race. No other candidate currently has better than 20 percent of the vote.

Election results, though, are incomplete. Officials have yet to tally most ballots cast in advance voting, as well as absentee ballots received in the mail since Monday or in drop boxes since last weekend.

The Registrar’s site notes that “there are still many ballots yet to count,” and those results will likely alter races.

The next update in the race is expected late Monday night.

“I am cautiously optimistic the final results will remain similar to what we are currently seeing,” Khan posted on his campaign’s Facebook page.