In Oregon, police arrested a royal princess and her husband, a former sheriff deputy. Both are involved in hosting a cockfighting ring being operated out of their ranch in the small town of Irrigon.
The 60-year-old Irina (Kreuger) Walker and her husband John Wesley Walker, 67, were taken into custody and are being charged with illegal gambling and violation of the Animal Welfare Act. The dozen others taken in the arrest are being charged with lesser crimes.
Between the period of January 2012 and May 2013, paid informants secretly filmed video showing the Romanian princess and her husband selling alcohol and food via a cockfighting ring at their Stokes Landing Sports Horses ranch.
The two informants are hoping for government leniency as one of them is under investigation for immigration violation and the other drug charges.
Cockfighting is prohibited in all U.S. states. The operation is illegal and considered to be a vicious practice. In the illegal blood sport, the roosters, better known as gamecocks, are used to fight with blades strapped to their legs. The fowl are conditioned over a two-year period to fight to the death. Not only is the practice “barbaric” and inhumane, states Oregon’s U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall, cockfighting also poses a threat to public health and safety and imposes activities into other crimes.
The ranch is currently in the legal process of being forfeited by the Oregon State federal prosecutor.
The princess’s arrest came when police surveillance showed that during a 16-month period she and her husband hosted 10 separate cockfighting gatherings. As much as $2,000 a day was made from the illegal operation. Gambling fees for attending the cockfighting derbies were collected by John Walker while the person handling the roosters had possession of a weapon.
Video showed vehicles driving up to their triple-wide manufactured home. Coolers containing food and alcoholic drinks would be delivered to the customers on a flatbed truck. After loading up the refreshments, the clients would then head on down to a metal roofed shed where the cockfighting was being held.
During the arrest, authorities seized money, cell phones, financial records, guns, fighting paraphernalia, needles and methamphetamine as evidence. The drugs confiscated are given to the roosters to improve their fighting abilities.
Irina (Kreuger) Walker is the great-great-great granddaughter of Queen Victoria and the youngest of three daughters of Romania’s King Michael I. The king, now 91-years-old, ruled during World War II. In 1947, he was forced to give up the throne by the Communist Party of Romania. Executions of mass proportion were threatened if he resisted.
King Michael I and his family then exiled to Switzerland where he spent the rest of his days as a test pilot and, ironically, a chicken farmer. Although their royal power is obsolete, the family still uses the royal titles.
The families’ website expressed deep sorrow for the princess’s actions and hope for a speedy resolution.
In 1983, Princess Irina moved from Switzerland to Oregon with her first husband, Kreuger — the two had been friends in Europe since childhood. They fell in love with Oregon stated her daughter Angelica, who resides in Myrtle Point, Oregon.
Princess Irina and her husband have pleaded not guilty to the charges in the cockfighting arrest, which carries a maximum 5-year sentence.
Written by Lisa Graziano