University of Washington graduate and Tacoma-native Jason Puracal has been released from prison and is out of Nicaragua, according to a family spokesperson.
It's not clear whether he's in the U.S. yet. His family says he's in a safe, undisclosed location.
On Wednesday, a three-judge appellate panel in Granada, Nicaragua vacated his conviction and 22-year prison sentence on charges that he laundered drug money.
The Nicaraguan prison received Puracal's release order Thursday morning and acted on it late in the afternoon. Eric Volz, managing director of the David House Agency, said in a statement that Puracal was on orders not to leave Nicaragua Thursday. But he is now out of the country.
A source close to the case told KIRO FM they were concerned about reports from Reuters that the Nicaraguan government might have rearrested Puracal and appeal the appellate court's decision.
"Before Puracal was released, Nicaraguan Attorney General Julio Centeno told a local television station that his office was considering whether to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, the nation's highest judicial body," Reuters reported.
Puracal, 35, was arrested in the resort village of San Juan del Sur on November 11, 2010. Along with 10 Nicaraguans, he was accused of operating a drug trafficking ring that brought cocaine up from Costa Rica.
On Aug. 29, 2011, Puracal was convicted of drug trafficking, money laundering and organized crime.
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