Tacoma man jailed in Nicaragua gets help from congressman

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by TONYA MOSLEY / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on June 10, 2011 at 5:13 PM

SEATTLE -- A Tacoma, Wash. native is being held in a Nicaraguan prison on drug trafficking accusations that his family says are false. Now, a congressman from Washington state has stepped up to help free him.

Jason Puracal's friends and family gathered at the courthouse steps in Seattle Friday. His mother, Daisy, and sister, Janice, led a plea to free him.

"I am in awe at how he has been holding up under such horrendous conditions," said Daisy.

Jason was arrested Nov. 11, 2010.  He moved to Nicaragua nine years ago with the Peace Corp. He fell in love and got married, then started his own family and a new career.

"He was a real estate agent same as you would be here," said Janice.

For the last seven months, Jason has been away from all of that. He's been prison, but not yet charged and has had little contact with the outside world.

Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., says everything about this case is wrong.

"They presented no evidence of a crime here. They've simply kidnapped and held him for a period of time and that is not in compliance with international law it's not even in compliance with Nicaraguan law," said Smith.

Childhood friends are trying to keep Jason's spirits up by writing letters and the family is hoping that asking the government to help will bring Jason home.

The Nicaraguan embassy in Washington, D.C. did not respond to messages for comment.

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