It appears Jason Puracal's time in a Nicaraguan prison will very soon be over. At least that's the news being spread by his lawyer as of late Wednesday. Fabbrith Gomez, Puracal's attorney, told the Associated Press that an appeals court vacated the highly questionable money-laundering and drug charges that put Puracal behind bars for almost two years, ordering his immediate release.
In September, 2011 Seattle Weekly's Jonathan Kaminsky wrote about Puracal's ordeal in-depth:
Puracal grew up in Tacoma and attended the University of Washington. After graduating with degrees in economics and zoology, he was intent on a career as a veterinarian. To gain real-world experience, he applied to the Peace Corps, with the hopes of being placed in Africa. Instead he was assigned to Nicaragua, where he moved in 2002.
After completing his service the following year, Puracal relocated to San Juan del Sur, a fast-developing beach town in the southwest of the country known for its hot housing market for wealthy expats. Along with three other Americans, he opened a RE/MAX office and went to work as a real-estate agent. Not long thereafter, Puracal met Scarleth Flores, a beautiful local with a big smile. They married, and four years ago had a boy, Jabu, who was born with Down syndrome.
Last year, Puracal--with his long hair, tattoos, and flashy car--was featured on the HGTV show House Hunters International, which follows wealthy North Americans searching for the perfect piece of real estate in exotic locations. (To the family's dismay, the network continued to air the episode long after his arrest.)
Everything changed on November 11, 2010. That night, Nicaraguan police, wearing masks and carrying AK-47s, raided Puracal's office, seizing his computers and placing him under arrest. The officers then went to his house, where his wife, son, and 65-year-old mother--a Puget Sound-area physician in town for a visit--were asleep. After a six-hour search, which his lawyers claim uncovered nothing illegal, Puracal was thrown in prison, where he has remained ever since. And things have only gotten worse.
It seems like, at long last, Puracal's luck has finally improved.
Previously on The Daily Weekly:
Jason Puracal, Tacoma Man Jailed in Nicaragua, Is There on Bogus Charges, Says Ex-FBI Agent