Princess Faces Charges Over Cockfighting Ring

Princess Faces Charges Over Cockfighting Ring

A Romanian princess and her husband, a former US sheriff's deputy, are among several people arrested in connection with an alleged cockfighting ring in Eastern Oregon.

Irina Walker, 60, and John Wesley Walker, 67, are accused of hosting cockfighting derbies and illegal gambling at their ranch outside the small Morrow County town of Irrigon.

The Walkers and four other people from Irrigon and Hermiston were to be arraigned in federal court in Portland on charges of operating an illegal gambling business.

Twelve others from Oregon and Washington face lesser charges of conspiracy to violate the Animal Welfare Act through illegal animal fighting.

They were due to be arraigned in Portland and Yakima, Washington State.

A US indictment said 10 different cockfighting derbies were held at the Walker's ranch between April 2012 and April 2013, bringing in as much as $2,000 (£1,300) a day.

Blades were attached to the birds' legs, spectators were charged admission, and food and drink were sold, the indictment said.

The four others charged with being part of the gambling business are Mario Perez, 62, of Hermiston; David Sanchez, 29, of Irrigon; Jose Luis Virgen Ramirez, 48, of Hermiston; and Aurelia Garcia Mendoza, 33, of Irrigon.

Each of the charged offences - illegal gambling, unlawful animal fighting venture, and conspiracy - carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 (£160,000).

The Oregonian newspaper identified Irina Walker, also known as Irina Kreuger, as a daughter of the last king of Romania.

Personnel records show John Wesley Walker was a Coos County sheriff's deputy from 1998 to 2003.

The exiled King Michael and Queen Anne of Romania attended the baptism of Princess Irina's daughter in Portland in 1987.

At the time, she and her first husband, John Kreuger, raised horses near the southern Oregon Coast.