Former deputy and Romanian princess accused in cockfighting ring
PORTLAND, Ore. - A former Coos County Sheriff's deputy and his wife, a member of the Romanian royal family, face federal charges accusing them of running illegal gambling operations and cockfighting derbies at an Eastern Oregon ranch.
Federal agents arrested John Wesley Walker, Irina Walker and 16 others in Oregon and Washington on Thursday after the indictment was unsealed.
The charges stem a cockfighting operation in Irrigon in Morrow County, Oregon, involving 10 "derbies" that took place between April 1, 2012, and May 19, 2013, federal prosecutors said.
Six people face charges of operating an illegal gambling business:
John Wesley Walker, 67, of Irrigon;
Irina Walker (aka Irina Kreuger), 60, of Irrigon;
Mario Perez (aka El Cuba), 62, of Hermiston, Oregon;
David Sanchez, 29, of Irrigon;
Jose Luis Virgen Ramirez, 48, of Hermiston; and
Aurelia Garcia Mendoza, 33, of Irrigon.
They are also charged, along with 12 others, with conspiracy to violate the Animal Welfare Act by conducting unlawful animal fighting ventures on ten occasions.
The additional defendants are:
Apolinar Munoz Gutierrez (aka Polo), 37, of Irrigon;
Cecilio Mendoza Magana, 63, of Kennewick, Washington;
Mauro Gonzalez Pulido (aka Cala), 47, of Zillah, Washington;
Ruben Saltos Godina (aka Chino), 42, of Moxee, Washington;
Arturo Olmedo Silva (aka El Havolin, Cepillo), 45, of Hermiston;
Eduardo Cisneros (aka Mariachi), 27, of Sunnyside, Washington;
Eulalio Delamora Anguiano (aka Lalo), 44 of Moxee, Washington;
Francisco Javier Vega (aka Sergio Gonzalez Manzano), 39, of Plymouth, Washington;
Oscar Acosta Navarrete, 46, of Prosser, Washington;
Antonio Dominguez Robles (aka Tono, Memo), 37, of Pasco, Washington;
Gerardo Gomez Castillo (aka Aguilo), 54, of Wapato, Washington; and
Valente Piedra Magana, 38, of Union Gap, Washington.
"Cockfighting is illegal under federal law and under the laws of all 50 states," said Amanda Marshall, United States Attorney for the District of Oregon. "Besides being a barbaric practice, cockfighting jeopardizes public health and safety and facilitates the commission of other criminal acts."
Each of the charged offenses - illegal gambling (one count), unlawful animal fighting venture (10 counts) and conspiracy (one count) - carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
The Walkers, if convicted, also face forfeiture of their ranch in Irrigon.