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Online Poker Pro in Hot Water

Aug 12, 2007
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A Safford, Arizona  Police officer discovered something unusual while performing a vehicle search following the stop of a reckless driver on Tuesday - 51,516 dollars in cash.

Aurangzeb M. Sheikh, 19, of Texas was pulled over by Safford Police after they witnessed him driving his black, 2007 BMW G-6 sports car recklessly on Highway 70. He also drove on First Avenue at approximately 80 mph. Sheikh was given a citation for speeding and performing an unsafe lane change.

According to his report, prior to Sheikh leaving, the officer asked him if he had any illegal items in his vehicle. Sheikh stated he did not and consented to a vehicle search. Through the search the officer found a marijuana grinder, a marijuana joint, an Islamic Republic of Pakistan international driving permit and $51,516 in cash in a duffle bag on the passenger seat. "When you find those items in that kind of car with someone so young, it raises eyebrows," Chief John Griffin said.

When asked regarding the money, Sheikh declared he was a professional poker player traveling from Las Vegas to Houston. He said he had won the money playing at the casinos in Las Vegas. Safford Police reminded Sheikh his license stated his age is 19 years old, to young for the casinos in Las Vegas. He then told officers he had won the money playing poker on-line as well as through various poker games he hosted with friends in a rented Las Vegas residence. Safford Police drove Sheikh's car to the Safford Police station for thorough search. They placed both the money and Sheikh's laptop into the police vault. Sheikh was transported to the station as well and consented to give a urine sample. Officers used a Status Stick test kit, which came up positive for THC (delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive substance found in marijuana. Sheikh denied the marijuana items were his but admitted to possessing a fraudulent document.

He claimed he obtained the Pakistani driving permit from his brother, who lives there. He additionally claimed he used it to get into casinos to play poker. Safford Police could find no criminal history on Sheikh. The Federal Bureau of Investigations was notified and did their own background investigation. The FBI confirmed Sheikh was a recognized on-line poker player and previously won nearly $200,000 in the Bahamas. Sheikh was cited for DUI-drugs, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and forgery. He was booked into the Graham County Jail and released the following day. All of his passions including his car, money and laptop were returned to him. He is now awaiting a court date pertaining to his citations.

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