Romanian princess and husband charged over alleged Oregon cockfighting ring

Irina Walker, 60,  is the daughter of the last king of Romania

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

Irina Walker, 60, also known as Irina Kreuger, is the daughter of the last king of Romania.

She and her husband, John Wesley Walker, 67, a former Coos County sheriff's deputy, are charged with hosting cockfighting meetings and illegal gambling at their ranch outside the Morrow County town of Irrigon.

Irina Walker, who was born in Switzerland after her father fled communist rule in their home country, has lived in the US since 1983. Walker is the third daughter of former Romanian King Michael I.

The 91-year-old Michael, one of the few surviving heads of state from World War II, was forced to abdicate by the communists in 1947. Sent into exile, he lived in Switzerland and worked as a commercial pilot and briefly as a chicken farmer.

According to a statement on the royal family's website, King Michael expressed "deep sorrow" about Princess Irina being arrested and hopes that the American justice system and Oregon courts will act as quickly as possible.

He did not mention his son-in-law and added that he hopes the presumption of innocence will function.

The pair were released by the judge pending trial but were ordered to wear GPS bracelets and remain in the region while awaiting a two-week jury trial due to begin October 15.

Government prosecutors say the pair staged at least 10 cockfighting derbies between April 2012 and April 2013, bringing in as much as $2,000 a day.

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

Prosecutors say 24 marijuana plants, 24 guns and a large amount of ammunition were found during this week's raid. No charges have been filed in connection with that discovery.

The Walkers are charged with operating an illegal gambling business and conspiracy to violate the federal Animal Welfare Act.

Each of the offenses carries a maximum possible sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Federal prosecutors are seeking forfeiture of the ranch.

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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