Feds Arrest Princess in Sweep of Illegal U.S. Cockfighting Ring

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 16 2013 11:23 AM

The Romanian Princess Who Allegedly Hosted Illegal Cock Fights at Her Oregon Home

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People attend a cock fight in Saint-Amand-les-Eaux, northern France

File photo by Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images

More than two dozen people were arrested in Oregon and Washington earlier this week on charges connected to cockfighting and illegal gambling—including a woman believed to be a Romanian princess, according to federal prosecutors. The Oregonian has the royal back story:

[Irina Walker, formerly Irina Kreuger, is the] middle of five daughters born to King Michael I and Queen Anne of Romania. ... Princess Irina, 60, is fifth in line to the throne, following her older sisters, Margareta and Elena, and Elena's two children, Nicholas and Elisabeta Karina. She was born and raised in Switzerland and moved to Oregon in 1983.
Irina Walker has never been a visible member of the royal family, which owns four castles in Romania. She has visited the European nation only a handful of times, said historian Filip-Lucian Iorga. Her biography is largely unknown to the Romanian public, he said. The royal family is popular, but largely uninvolved in local politics.
In 1944, King Michael led a coup against a pro-Nazi government. His family lived in exile for more than four decades after the country fell under communism after World War II. The king was forced to abdicate in 1947 by communists threatening to kill more than 1,000 young Romanian prisoners. The king and queen have lived modestly in Switzerland and the United Kingdom, maintaining a chicken farm and a carpenter's shop.
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The feds claim that Walker and her husband—a former sheriff's deputy—were key players in the illegal cockfighting ring, allegedly hosting at least 10 "derbies" in the past year. The alleged events were no small affairs. According to the indictment, referees supervised the fights and there was even a concession stand where food and beer was sold.

If Walker and her husband are convicted, they could face several years of prison time and millions of dollars in fines, according to the Los Angeles Times. The couple could also be forced to forfeit the property where the fights were held.

Jennifer Lai is an associate editor at Slate.

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