Student Trapped For 5 Days in DEA Facility To Receive $4.1 Million
A 25-year-old college student will get $4.1 million from the federal government in a settlement claim, after he was accidentally left in a DEA interrogation room for five days — without food, water, or toilet access.
Daniel Chong was held in a drug raid in April 2012, after police found him at a friend's house smoking pot. In what can only be described as a nightmarish scenario, Chong was told, "we'll come get you in a minute," but was then abandoned in the 5-by-10-foot windowless cell for five days with nothing to eat or drink, no toilet, and no way out.
What happened to Chong, his lawyer said, "should never happen to any human being on the face of the planet."
Chong apparently suffered hallucinations and desperately tried to get some water by breaking a fire sprinkler, but failed — instead, he was forced to drink his own urine to stay alive. According to his lawyer, Chong even broke his glasses at one point to scratch a message into his arm: "Sorry, mom."
The lawyer also stated that Chong has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, after undergoing intense therapy.
Chong has said he believes he was forgotten by mistake.
"It sounded like it was an accident - a really, really bad, horrible accident," he said.
A few days after Chong was found, a top DEA official apologized, saying: "I extend my deepest apologies [to] the young man and want to express that this event is not indicative of the high standards that I hold my employees to."
The incident is still under investigation by the Department of Justice's Office of Inspector General.