A Romanian princess and her husband, a former sheriff’s deputy, were arrested Thursday in connection with an alleged cockfighting ring in eastern Oregon and south-central Washington.
Irina Walker, the third daughter of romania’s King Michael I, and John Wesley Walker, along with 16 other suspects in Oregon and at least a dozen in Washington, were charged with conspiracy to violate the federal Animal Welfare Act, The Oregonian reported
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Government prosecutors allege the couple staged at least 10 cockfighting derbies at their ranch between April 1, 2012, and May 19, 2013. The illegal sport featured roosters with knives attached to their legs to facilitate killing each other while beer and food were sold, prosecutors allege.
John and Irina Walker were charged with operating an illegal gambling business and unlawful animal fighting ventures at their Morrow County ranch, The Oregonian reported.
The government alleges that the Walkers' horse ranch is subject to federal forfeiture because it was used in a criminal enterprise. The ranch's dwellings were valued at $170,360 in 2011.
Each of the charges carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
"Cockfighting is illegal under federal law and under the laws of all 50 states," Amanda Marshall, U.S. attorney for Oregon, said in a statement. "Besides being a barbaric practice, cockfighting jeopardizes public health and safety and facilitates the commission of other criminal acts."
Walker, 67, married Princess Irina, 60, in 2007. Fifth in line to the throne, Princess Irina is not a high-profile member of the royal family. She has visited Romania, where the family owns four castles, a few times and is largely unknown there, historian Filip-Lucian Iorga told The Oregionian.
In 1987, while Princess Irina was living with her first husband John Kreuger, the exiled King Michael and Queen Anne of Romania visited for the baptism of their grandchild, Princess Irina's daughter, The Associated Press said
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