Long nightmare nearly over for imprisoned Tacoma man

SEATTLE -- A Tacoma man's two-year nightmare in a Nicaraguan prison is finally coming to an end.

An appeals panel decided Wednesday to absolve Jason Puracal of his 22-year prison sentence and set him free.

Puracal's family is overjoyed with the news, but they aren't going to relax until he touches down in the United States. He could walk out of the notorious La Modelo prison at any moment, but right now nobody is sure exactly when he'll be set free.

"I can't let down my guard for a second because I know how hard this fight has been. Two years now, and it's not over," said Puracal's sister, Janice Puracal.

The family -- sisters Janice and Jamie, along with mother Daisy -- got even even more good news on Thursday.

"We just learned moments ago that the order for Jason's release is on its way to the prison. What that means is that Jason is going to be walking out of the prison within hours," Janice said.

A University of Washington grad, Puracal had been working in real estate for RE/MAX in San Juan, Nicaragua with his wife and a son named Jaboo. On November 11, 2010, masked police raided his office and took him away.

"They are accusing me of international drug trafficking without any drugs," Puracal said after his arrest. "They are accusing me of money laundering without any money."

He was eventually sentenced to 22 years in prison.

On Thursday, Puracal's family waited by their phones and computers, just as they have done for much of the last two years. They don't know if Puracal is even aware that he's about to be set free.

There will be a team in Nicaragua to greet him when he's released, but so much is still in the air.

"We don't know if he's going to be deported from the country or if he's going to be walked through the front door. We just don't know that yet," Janice said. "It's going to be a surreal moment when he comes home. That's what we're working towards and we're not going to let down our guards until he is back home with us."