Poker Player Shawn Sheikhan Gets Four Years for Illegal Cannabis Business

Posted on: November 14, 2023, 04:27h. 

Last updated on: November 15, 2023, 12:19h.

Poker “bad boy” Shawn Sheikhan has been sentenced to four years in federal prison for operating an illegal cannabis business.

Sheikhan is best known for his deep run in the 2005 World Series of Poker Main Event, where he feuded with Mike “The Mouth” Matusow, above.

His expletive-laden battle with Matusow ended in “the Sheik’s” elimination at the hands of his nemesis in 11th place. The conflict between the two was one of the most popular and replayed TV segments of the WSOP that year.

But in June 2022, Sheikhan, 54, pleaded guilty to charges of operating illegal and unlicensed marijuana dispensaries throughout Southern California.

Wholesale Drugs

Prosecutors said Sheikhan and his codefendant, Sabriana Williams, managed a business known as “Cannaland.” In addition to selling cannabis via its own illegal outlets, the operation acted as a wholesaler, supplying the drug to other unlicensed dispensaries throughout the region.

Police raided Cannaland’s headquarters in Spring Valley, Calif. in April 2021, seizing 3,000 pounds of marijuana with an estimated street value of more than $6 million, along with five firearms.

Following the raid, Sheikhan and Williams personally acquired replacement firearms for Cannaland’s armed security guards, and continued to distribute vast amounts of marijuana, according to federal prosecutors.

As part of their plea deal, the pair admitted the amount of marijuana products distributed by Cannaland between 2019 and 202 exceeded 3,000 kilos.

Plea for Clemency

Sheikhan faced a maximum sentence of 40 years in federal prison and a $5 million fine prior to his plea deal. Last month, PokerNews reported that Sheikan’s defense lawyers had petitioned the judge for a probational sentence for their client.

In a 33-page sentencing memorandum, Sheikhan’s attorney, Richard Schonfeld, argued for clemency and submitted character references from legendary poker TV producer Mori Eskandani, among others.

Eskandani, a Poker Hall of Fame inductee, mentioned Sheikan’s “serious remorse” and noted the respect he showed for his family and others, despite his reputation for poor poker etiquette.

Matusow may beg to differ.

“These guys are like oil and water,” noted commentator Lon McEachern at the 2005 Series.