Shawn Sheikhan faces deportation from U.S.

Shawn Sheikhan

Shawn Sheikhan, the mouthy pro poker player and Las Vegas tattoo parlor proprietor, may be deported from the United States on a conviction of sexual battery and annoyance or molestation of a child from more than a decade ago.

The Las Vegas Review Journal cites U.S. District Court documents reporting Sheikhan's arrest by officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at his Sin City home August 30. He was held for more than a week at a local detention center before being released on a $10,000 bond, according to the newspaper.

Sheikhan's possible deportation stems from a 1995 misdemeanor conviction in Contra Costa County, Calif. He served nine months in jail and received five years of probation for the offense.

"This individual was targeted for ICE arrest because of his criminal history," Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, told the Review Journal. "ICE has an ongoing initiative called Operation Predator targeting individuals, including foreign nationals, who prey upon and sexually exploit children."

Immigration officials are gunning for Sheikhan to be removed from the U.S., Kice said, because his conviction is "a deportable offense, but ultimately it will be up to an immigration judge to make that determination."

The 38-year-old is fighting the deportation, his lawyer said Tuesday. Sheikhan is also considering revisiting the California conviction based on constitutional issues that include ineffective counsel, the lawyer said.

Sheikhan was born in Iran but emigrated to the U.S. at the age of nine. He received permanent residency in 1983 and has since married and had a daughter in the country, where he owns six tattoo, piercing and clothing shops.

He is also a well-known cash game and tournament player on the poker circuit. He is known for his strong showing at the World Series of Poker, where he made the final table of the 2005 Main Event, and for running his mouth while at the felt.

The pro player is subject to removal from the country because U.S. law allows deportation from the country if a resident has been convicted of two crimes involving moral turpitude not arising out of a single scheme of criminal misconduct, the Review Journal reports.

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