CA College Student Drank His Urine After DEA Abandoned Him In Cell For 5 Days
UC San Diego senior Daniel Chong, detained in a drug bust April 21, says he was left alone in his tiny federal holding cell for five days, forgotten by the agents who put him there. During his confinement he drank his own urine, and inadvertently ate shards of glass and methamphetamine discarded in the cell.
Chong, 24, was one of many taken into custody in San Diego during a "series of drug bust arrests," reports NBC San Diego, and now the man has come forward to tell his story of being abandoned in the cell without food, water, or access to a bathroom.
Agents finally found him on April 25, and called the paramedics, according to UT San Diego. He had drank his own urine to survive, and had used the broken shards of his eyeglasses to scratch out "Sorry Mom" on his arm.
Chong attests that while inside the five-by-10-foot windowless cell he "screamed," "kicked madly at the door," and "cried like a baby," and could hear activity coming from the other side of the door, like agents talking amongst themselves or other detainees being moved around.
The DEA admits that they abandoned one of the arrestees from the April 21 sweep that also netted 18,000 Ecstasy pills, three weapons, and additional drugs: “Seven suspects were brought to county detention after processing, one was released and the individual in question was accidentally left in one of the cells,” spokeswoman Amy Roderick said.
Chong, however, had been taken into custody while visiting friends in University City the night of April 20, claims the student, and was not actually involved in the drug operation, but admitted he had been smoking marijuana at the gathering. After being hauled in and interviewed, agents admitted Chong "had been in the wrong place at the wrong time and would be released shortly," explains UT San Diego, adding: "One agent even promised to drive him home."
That's when Chong was taken to the holding cell, and forgotten.
“I’m not sure how they could forget me," Chong later told NBC San Diego.
The engineering student says he suffered indescribable hallucinations, and, in his confusion, he ingested not only some of the bits of the glass from his broken eyewear, but also " a white powdery substance the DEA said had been left in the cell inadvertently," according to the UT San Diego report. I was completely insane," said Chong.
The paramedics logged being called to the Kearny Mesa facility and treating an individual suffering from methamphetamine ingestion.
Chong spent the next five days at Sharp Hospital, "recovering from problems including a perforated lung that was the result of eating broken glass."
He had missed multiple midterm exams during the ordeal, which Chong's attorney, Eugene Iredale, says he is hoping UCSD officials would allow him to make up.
The DEA have defended the raid and Chong's detention, since he had been present at a site where a search warrant was being served for a drug investigation. However, they have not offered any reasoning as to why they left Chong in the cell for so long. "DEA plans to thoroughly review both the events and detention procedures on April 21st and after,'' reads an agency statement on the subject.
Iredale is expected to file a claim, but notes "he expected it would be denied and he would proceed with a federal lawsuit later this year," reports UT San Diego.
Chong and his attorney at a press conference Monday: