Listen to this article

URBANA — A University of Illinois student who allegedly had about 2 pounds of cannabis intended for sale in his home has been charged with a Class 2 felony.

Champaign County Street Crimes Task Force Sgt. Dave Griffet said Emad Shehata, 20, who listed an address in the 400 block of South Fifth Street, Champaign, was allegedly receiving cannabis via the mail from California and reselling it in Champaign County. The task force had been investigating him for a couple months, Griffet said.

On Wednesday morning, police conducted a court-authorized search of his apartment. Shehata was present with three roommates. Officers found about 900 grams of cannabis in his bedroom and more than $1,750 in cash, including $40 that police had earlier given an informant to use to buy cannabis from Shehata.

A roommate of Shehata’s had a smaller amount of cannabis that was still more than the 30 grams that the law permits adult users to have, Griffet said.

Despite the legalization of cannabis for recreational use earlier this year, Griffet said large amounts of cannabis — which remain illegal — and significant amounts of cash put people nearby in jeopardy. The street value of 2 pounds of cannabis is about $9,080, Griffet said.

“That amount of drugs is enticing: You have something somebody else wants and you put yourself at great risk,” he said.

If convicted of possession with intent to deliver cannabis, Shehata faces penalties ranging from probation to three to seven years in prison.

His roommate was charged with a less-serious Class 3 felony for possessing between 30 and 500 grams of cannabis intended for sale.


Mary Schenk is a reporter covering police, courts and breaking news at The News-Gazette. Her email is, and you can follow her on Twitter (@schenk).