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San Diego - DEA Apologizes To College Student Left In Cell For Days

Published on: May 2, 2012 02:21 PM
By: AP
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Daniel Chong appears at a news conference where he discussed his detention by the DEA. The 24-year-old was forgotten by federal drug agents and left in a holding cell for five days without food, water or access to a toilet says he drank his own urine to survive. Daniel Chong appears at a news conference where he discussed his detention by the DEA. The 24-year-old was forgotten by federal drug agents and left in a holding cell for five days without food, water or access to a toilet says he drank his own urine to survive.

San Diego - The Drug Enforcement Administration issued an apology Wednesday to a California student who was picked up during a drug raid and left in a holding cell for several days without food, water or access to a toilet.

DEA San Diego Acting Special Agent-In-Charge William R. Sherman said in a statement that he was troubled by the treatment of Daniel Chong and extended his “deepest apologies” to him.

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The agency is investigating how its agents forgot about Chong.

Chong, 23, was never arrested, was not going to be charged with a crime and should have been released, said a law enforcement official who was briefed on the DEA case and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Chong told U-T San Diego (http://bit.ly/JRlSr8) that he drank his own urine to survive and that he bit into his glasses to break them and tried to use a shard to scratch “Sorry Mom” into his arm.

The engineering student at University of California, San Diego, was swept up as one of nine suspects in an April 21 drug raid that netted 18,000 ecstasy pills, other drugs and weapons.

Chong said DEA agents told him he would be released. One agent even promised to drive him home from the DEA field office in Kearny Mesa, he said.

Instead, he was returned to a holding cell to await release. He also said the lights went off at one point and stayed off for several days.

Sherman says the event is not indicative of the high standards to which he holds his employees. He says he has personally ordered an extensive review of his office’s policies and procedures.

Chong said he could hear the muffled voices of agents outside his windowless cell and the sound of the door of the next cell being opened and closed. He kicked and screamed as loud as he could. His cries for help went unheard.

“I had to recycle my own urine,” he said. “I had to do what I had to do to survive.”

When he was found on April 25, he was taken to a hospital and treated for cramps, dehydration and a perforated lung — the result of ingesting some of the broken glass.

“When they opened the door, one of them said: ‘Here’s the water you’ve been asking for,’” Chong said. “But I was pretty out of it at the time.”

Chong also ingested a white powder DEA agents said was left in the cell accidentally and later identified as methamphetamine. He described having hallucinations, saying: “I was completely insane.”

Chong’s attorney, Eugene Iredale, said he plans to file a claim against the federal government and, if it is denied, he will proceed with filing a federal lawsuit.


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Read Comments (15)  —  Post Yours »

1

 May 02, 2012 at 03:01 PM Anonymous Says:

I've read of other cases of prisoners being locked in cells, and being forgot about for days. There is simply no excuse for the incompetence of the DEA. I hope that Chong's Attorney makes them cough up a large sum of money.

2

 May 02, 2012 at 03:02 PM Barsechel Says:

This is crazy an apology will not do it will cost the Government a lot of money and some heads will roll. This is like a story out of North Korean gulag

3

 May 02, 2012 at 03:16 PM Facts1 Says:

We're sorry and that's about it.

He should sue these communists. What has our prison system turned into, a gulag?

4

 May 02, 2012 at 04:28 PM Anonymous Says:

First the Secret Service, now the DEA, what type of people do we have in these agencies?

5

 May 02, 2012 at 05:32 PM Facts1 Says:

Reply to #4  
Anonymous Says:

First the Secret Service, now the DEA, what type of people do we have in these agencies?

When you give up your security for freedom and health, you get non.

6

 May 02, 2012 at 07:33 PM newtransplant Says:

Definitely sue them for a huge amount, we are talking almost a death while in custody case, thankfully he survived.

7

 May 02, 2012 at 09:20 PM Lucky Says:

Everyone should by now be aware that members of the white house re election team has been stalking these boards for a while and I'm pretty sure that regular poster Facts1 is a member of that team.

8

 May 02, 2012 at 09:59 PM yankle Says:

To all you people saying sue them, realize the money is coming out of our pockets. The people should be arrested and fired, losing their pensions.

9

 May 02, 2012 at 11:02 PM JOTHEPROFESSOR Says:

Reply to #7  
Lucky Says:

Everyone should by now be aware that members of the white house re election team has been stalking these boards for a while and I'm pretty sure that regular poster Facts1 is a member of that team.

As (un)likely as that you are stalking the board on behalf of Romney. In any case, there is Emes in what Facts1 says.

10

 May 02, 2012 at 11:26 PM Anon Ibid Opcit Says:

It's bad, but this isn't the first time this sort of thing has happened over the years. There will be a flurry of activity. Some protocols will be changed. A large settlement will change hands.

11

 May 03, 2012 at 08:21 AM Butterfly Says:

Remember, he will live with this the rest of his life!!

12

 May 03, 2012 at 09:51 AM Sekhel Says:

I agree with #8 Yankle: If Mr Chang wins a large settlement, it will come out of yours and mine pockets. It won't come disproportionately out of the pockets of the agents. Until all government agents can be PERSONALLY sued for such criminal acts, nothing will happen.

13

 May 03, 2012 at 12:45 PM Yecky Says:

Reply to #7  
Lucky Says:

Everyone should by now be aware that members of the white house re election team has been stalking these boards for a while and I'm pretty sure that regular poster Facts1 is a member of that team.

Hey Lucky.........what are you trying to say ? What is the relevance to the story?
Please explain.

14

 May 03, 2012 at 02:11 PM shimonyehuda Says:

Reply to #3  
Facts1 Says:

We're sorry and that's about it.

He should sue these communists. What has our prison system turned into, a gulag?

it was after 9/11 bush got a lot of our freedoms taken away in the name of security

15

 May 04, 2012 at 05:16 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #7  
Lucky Says:

Everyone should by now be aware that members of the white house re election team has been stalking these boards for a while and I'm pretty sure that regular poster Facts1 is a member of that team.

I doubt it. I don't think they would go so far to impersonate a regular on VIN to use as poor English and grammar as most commenters do just to blend in.

16

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