Laura C. Morel

Laura C. Morel

Laura covers law enforcement and courts in Pinellas County. She joined the Tampa Bay Times in May 2012. Born and raised in Miami, she speaks Spanish and holds degrees from Miami Dade College and Emerson College in Boston.

7venth Sun Brewery co-owner accused of battering his former girlfriend

Devon Kreps and Justin Stange pour their first beer at 7venth Sun's opening in 2012.   [Douglas R. Clifford, Times]
The co-owner of a local and award-winning craft beer empire has been accused of battering an ex-girlfriend.Justin Stange, 35, who co-founded 7venth Sun Brewery in Dunedin and Seminole...

Lawyer running for Pinellas judge seat faces Florida Bar complaint

SCOTT KEELER   |   Times
 The Florida Bar, Tallahassee.
A medical malpractice lawyer running for a Pinellas circuit judge seat in the Aug. 28 election is facing allegations that he screamed at another lawyer during a meeting and was escorted out by...

Cubans build lives in Mexican border town while still dreaming of America

Eléonore Hamelin   |   Special to the Times
Lourdes Lisett De La Torre was trying to get to Houston, where her daughter live, but she says she didn't want to be denied asylum in the United States and has opted to stay temporarily in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.
NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico Lourdes Lisett De La Torre arrived at the Gateway to the Americas bridge carrying nothing but a backpack and a phone. She had left behind her mother, her house and her..

Trump wants to build a wall, but border cities prefer bridges

A passerby walks past a sign of a vacant business in Laredo, Texas, that reads
LAREDO, Texas — Daniel Ramirez Davila learned English at his Mexican school, but perfected the language by watching American movies and the TV show Friends with subtitles.The 26-year-old...

At a Mexican shelter, migrants who fled death threats prepare for ‘zero tolerance’ at the border

Lourdes Cruz and her 5-year-old son, Jorge Luis, arrived at the Frontera Digna shelter on Tuesday night after traveling from Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Cruz is fleeing from gangs that threatened to kill her if she didn't give them half of her paychecks. [LAURA MOREL   | Times]
PIEDRAS NEGRAS, Mexico — In Honduras, their lives were surrounded by death.Lourdes Cruz had just started a new job when the maras, the deadly gangs plaguing Central America,...