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Tacoma Native To Be Sentenced In Nicaragua

Derek Wang

A Tacoma man who's now living in Nicaragua is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday after being convicted on drug and money laundering charges.


34–year–old Jason Puracal was convicted last week. Nicaraguan prosecutors allege that he used his real estate business to launder drug money. They also say they found drug residue on his car, according to local news reports.

Puracal says he's not guilty. He and his supporters reportedly say he hasn't had a fair trial and hasn't been allowed to refute the evidence against him. And that's something that's resonated with Washington Democratic Congressman Adam Smith, of Tacoma.

Smith: "We have very strong concerns about the Nicaraguan government and whether or not their justice system is giving Jason the access to a fair trial — allowing him to present the information on his side, and what they're allowing on the prosecutorial side."

In a recent interview, Smith would not specifically say whether he thought Puracal was guilty. He did say that he hasn't seen any evidence that would prove the charges against Puracal. But he says his chief concern is the way the case is being handled and that's why he has asked the US State Department to get involved.

The case is being appealed. In the meantime, Puracal could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison.

I'm Derek Wang, KUOW News.

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