Daniel Chong, a 23-year old UC San Diego student, is suing the Drug Enforcement Agency after being left in a holding cell for nearly five days without food or water. U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer and Rep. Darrell Issa have both asked for an investigation into the incident.
Chong's lawyers confirmed Wednesday he is asking for $20 million after DEA agents put him in a holding cell and then subsequently forgot about him for nearly five days. During this time, Chong attempted to gain his release by kicking and screaming and ripping pieces of his clothes to pass under the door. His lawyers say his treatment was tantamount to torture.
By the third day, Chong was severely dehydrated and hallucinating and drank his own urine to survive. He also ingested a white substance he found in the cell, which the DEA confirmed was methamphetamine. Experiencing hallucinations, Chong attempted to ingest the lenses from his glasses (shards were found in his body) and carved "Sorry, Mom" into his arm.
When he was found by agents on the fourth day by confused agents, he was suffering from dehydration, kidney failure, cramps and a perforated esophagus.
Chong was at a residence in University City, CA on April 20, a day when people worldwide smoke marijuana, when the DEA raided the house. Chong and a number of other students were picked up and taken to a holding facility in Kearny Mesa, about 15 minutes away by car.
Chong was never arrested or charged and was told he could return home by DEA agents. But instead, he was lead back to a 5-by-10 foot holding cell and left there for nearly five days.
DEA San Diego Acting Special Agent-In-Charge William R. Sherman apologized to Chong and said a full investigation is underway. Chong, who missed his midterm examinations, said he is not sure he is ready to return to university after his "life-altering" experience.
by RTT Staff Writer
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