Jason Puracal's parents are Indian, but he grew up in Tacoma, Washington.
"I've never met anyone with Jason's loyalty and his sense of family," said his sister, Janis Puracal.
As a teenager, Jason got good grades and went on to graduate from the University of Washington. After college, he joined the Peace Corps and was sent to Nicaragua, where he fell in love, married and started a family.
Jason settled down in the town of San Juan Del Sur, selling real estate to a growing number of Americans who see the picturesque seaside village as the perfect place to retire.
But some of the country's dark past lingers there as well. On November 11, 2010, Jason was arrested along with ten local men. His mother, Daisy Zachariah, was there visiting when police stormed in.
"I was thinking this is all some strange mistake and things would be over pretty soon," said Zachariah.
Instead, Jason was held in prison for nine months, then charged, and ultimately convicted for international drug trafficking and money laundering. His prison sentence is 22 years.
"I know 100 percent Jason is innocent," said his wife Scarlett.
Back in Washington, Jason's mother and sisters have launched a full-time campaign to win his freedom.
"I've inspected every document, gone through the trial record, talked to the attorneys, I've talked to as many people as I can find," said Tom Cash, a former DEA agent. "There is just no shred of evidence against Jason."
It's expected Jason's family would swear he's not guilty, but what is rare is current and former U.S. officials, including the former DEA station chief in Miami, who all say the same thing.
"I say there's a lot of major drug traffickers in Nicaragua and there's a lot of major drug traffickers in Central American but Jason Puracal is certainly not one of them," said Cash.
A Nicaraguan judge convicted Jason of using his real estate business to launder drug money, even though they found no drugs, no trail of bank records and no confiscated piles of cash.
The spokesperson for the Nicaraguan Justice Department says the trial judge wouldn't allow Jason's defense team to present much of its evidence. For the past fourteen months, he's been in Managua's brutal, filthy La Modelo prison.
"Theres no running water, you have to fight with the other 250 inmates on the cellblock to fill your bucket," Jason said by phone. "There's a lot of violence between them. Every day its a battle to stay alive."
Before his conviction, Jason was alllowed to speak to the TV cameras.
"They're accusing me of international drug trafficking without any drugs, money laundering without any money and organized crime with the other ten people who are charged in this case and I don't know any of the other ten," he said.
Fellow American real estate agent Pedro Resau says he doesn't know why Jason was targetted by police, but thinks that his friend may have been the victim of local prejudice.
"He looks super flashy, he's dark-skinned," said Resau. "I think the assumptions got the better of people and they just convicted him before he even had a chance."
The appeals court in Nicaragua is now scheduled to review Jason's case, and all the evidence, including what the prosecutor did not allow at trial -- giving hope to Puracal's family in Seattle and to his wife and son, a 4-year-old with Down's Syndrome, that Jason will be soon be home.
"I can't wait 22 years," said wife Scarlett. "I can't. It's impossible."
It would be a huge embarrassment to the Nicaraguan government to admit they made a mistake in this case, but it wouldn't be the first time. More than four years ago, another American, Eric Volz, was arrested and wrongly convicted in the same small town. He was set free by the appeals court, and that's what Jason Puracal's family is hoping for.