GRANTS PASS, OR – Federal law enforcement agents swooped in and busted a group of Oregonians Thursday, including a Romanian princess and her husband, for allegedly running a cockfighting ring. It isn’t every day you get to write up a story about a Romanian Princess and cockfighting unless you’re in porn, let me tell you.
Indictments unsealed in U.S. District Court in Portland charge Irina Walker, 60, and her husband, John Wesley Walker, 67, a former sheriff’s deputy, with hosting cockfights and illegal gambling at their ranch just outside Irrigon, in Morrow County. Prosecutors are seeking forfeiture of the couples’ ranch, which does business under the name Stokes Landing Sport Horses. Guess they got away with it for so long by not using the name Stokes Landing Sport Cocks.
The Walkers were scheduled to be arraigned in federal court in Portland Friday on charges of operating an illegal gambling business, along with four other people from Irrigon and Hermiston. According to court records, no lawyer was listed for either the Walkers or any of the other defendants. In a statement, U.S. attorney for Oregon Amanda Marshall said:
“Cockfighting is illegal under federal law and under the laws of all 50 states. Besides being a barbaric practice, cockfighting jeopardizes public health and safety and facilitates the commission of other criminal acts.” Cockfighting – bet you didn’t know it was a gateway sport.
Twelve others from Oregon and Washington face lesser charges of conspiracy to violate the Animal Welfare Act through illegal animal fighting. Those defendants will be arraigned in Yakima and Portland. According to the indictment, between April 2012 and April 2013, 10 different cockfighting ‘derbies’ were put on at the Walker’s ranch, each one with a card featuring dozens of cockfights. The fights reportedly brought in as much as $2,000 a day.
The indictment alleges that blades and gaffs were attached to the birds’ legs, that spectators were charged admission, and that concessions were sold. The four others charged with being part of the gambling business are Aurelia Garcia Mendoza, 33, of Irrigon; Mario “El Cuba” Perez, 62, of Hermiston; David Sanchez, 29, of Irrigon and Jose Luis Virgen Ramirez, 48, of Hermiston.
The Oregonian identified Irina Walker, also known as Irina Kreuger, as a daughter of the last king of Romania. Personnel records show John Wesley Walker was a Coos County sheriff’s deputy from 1998 to 2003. Each of the charges carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.