4/16/2014

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Authorities: Romanian princess sold alcohol at cockfights

Authorities: Romanian princess sold alcohol at cockfights
Irina and John Walker.
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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Video recorded by two informants shows a Romanian princess and her husband, a former Coos County deputy sheriff, selling alcohol and food at a cockfighting operation they're accused of running at their ranch in Eastern Oregon, court documents state.

Irina Walker, daughter of the last king of Romania, and her husband, former deputy sheriff John Walker, pleaded not guilty last week to charges of running an illegal gambling operation and conspiring to violate the Animal Welfare Act. More than a dozen other people were charged.

In a search warrant affidavit unsealed this week, federal investigators allege that videos show the Walkers selling food and alcohol at some of the 10 cockfighting derbies attended by confidential informants between January 2012 and May 2013. The cockfights were allegedly held on a ranch in Irrigon, Ore., where the couple lived in a triple-wide trailer.

The informants were paid and are hoping for favorable treatment by authorities. One is facing accusations of an immigration violation and the other is facing drug charges, according to the affidavit.

Investigators said they seized cash, financial records, cell phones, firearms, and "fighting implements." They also said they took needles, medications and a substance they suspect is methamphetamine. Authorities say roosters are often given drugs to improve their performance in fights.

Irina Walker, 60, 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.

Irina Walker moved to the U.S. from Switzerland in 1983 with her former-husband John Kreuger, according to her daughter, Angelica Kreuger of Myrtle Point, Ore. She said her parents were school friends in Europe and her father fell in love with Oregon.

Angelica Kreuger said her mother is proud of her heritage - she keeps a large picture of her father in the living room - but never lived a lavish lifestyle. As for herself, Kreuger said being the child of a princess only got her picked on in school.

Both the Walkers were released pending trial.
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