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Romanian Princess Admits Running Cockfighting Ring in Oregon

PORTLAND, Oregon - A Romanian princess and her husband pleaded guilty on Wednesday to one charge of running an illegal gambling operation for their involvement in a cockfighting ring in rural Oregon. Irina Walker, 61, daughter of exiled former Romanian King Michael, and her husband John Walker, 68, appeared in federal court in Portland in connection with cockfights they held in Irrigon, Oregon, in 2012 and 2013.

Under the agreement to change their plea, Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Peifer said that the couple will sell their ranch and forfeit $200,000 to the government in lieu of incarceration. Cockfighting is illegal under federal law, and under the laws of every state. The Walkers initially held the contests outside at their ranch but later built a barn-like structure "used as an arena," Peifer told the court. He said they rented portable toilets, hired someone to cook Mexican food, and also sold alcoholic drinks. Peifer said they also pocketed a $20 entry fee collected from patrons. The couple are due to be sentenced on Oct. 22.

Image: Irina Walker and John Wesley Walker
Swiss-born Irina Walker and her husband John Wesley Walker accepted a plea deal on Wednesday. Her father, King Michael, went into exile after being forced to abdicate in 1947. Multnomah County Sheriff via AP, file

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- Reuters