ONTD Political

Drug Enforcement Agency Ignores Locked Up UCSD Student

8:38 pm - 05/01/2012
Daniel Chong, the UC San Diego student who was left in a Drug Enforcement Agency holding cell for nearly five days, said the time spent in his cell was a life-altering experience.

Before holding a press conference Tuesday afternoon, the 23-year-old spoke with NBCSanDiego and said he was increasingly worried throughout the days he spent in a 5 ft. by 10 ft. cell, where he could not spread his arms out wide.

“They never came back, ignored all my cries and I still don’t know what happened,” he said. “I’m not sure how they could forget me.”

Chong and his lawyer spoke to the media on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the claim they will file with the federal court system on Wednesday.

“He was at the wrong place at the wrong time,” said his lawyer Gene Iredale, who compared Chong’s experience to Abu Ghraib.

Chong said he was at a friend’s house in University City celebrating 4/20, a day many marijuana users set aside to smoke, when agents came inside and raided the residence. Chong was then taken to the DEA office in Kearny Mesa.

He said agents questioned him, and then told him he could go home. One agent even offered him a ride, Chong said. No criminal charges were filed against him.

But Chong did not go home that night. Instead, he was placed in a cell for five days without any human contact and was not given food or drink. In his desperation, he said he was forced to drink his own urine.
“I had to do what I had to do to survive….I hallucinated by the third day,” Chong said. “I was completely insane.”

Chong said he lost roughly 15 pounds during the time he was alone. His lawyer confirmed that Chong ingested a powdery substance found inside the cell. Later testing revealed the substance was methamphetamine.

After days of being ignored, Chong said he tried to take his own life by breaking the glass from his spectacles with his teeth and then carving “Sorry mom,” on his wrists. He said nurses also found pieces of glass in his throat, which led him to believe he ingested the pieces purposefully.

Chong said he could hear DEA employees and people in neighboring cells. He screamed to let them know he was there, but no one replied. He kicked the door, but no one came to get him.

By the time DEA officers found Chong in his cell Wednesday morning Chong was completely incoherent, said Iredale.

“I didn’t think I would come out,” Chong said.

He said when employees discovered him in the cell that they looked confused and nervous. A DEA employee rode with him to the hospital, where they paid for Chong’s visit.

He spent three days in the intensive care unit at Sharp Hospital and his kidneys were close to failing.

The DEA has not apologized to Chong, said Iredale.

The incident also caused Chong to miss his midterms at UCSD. He said he does not know if he will return to school, as his perspective on life has changed since his isolation.

San Diego defense attorney Gretchen Von Helms said the victim could get millions if he files a lawsuit.

"In all my years of practice I've never heard of the DEA or any Federal government employee simply forgetting about someone that they have in their care," she said.

"There has to be repercussions if people do not follow the safety and the care when they have a human being in their custody."


Wow, anything to catch a drug user. That's America!
And I don't think this should be compared to Abu Ghraib but it's pretty fucking messed up.
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chaya 2nd-May-2012 03:41 am (UTC)
... the fuck
ook 2nd-May-2012 03:46 am (UTC)
Wow! Why couldn't they hear him? Are all the cells soundproofed or something? :(

I hope this kid wins a huge settlement for this mistreatment.
romp 2nd-May-2012 06:31 am (UTC)
If he could hear them, I suspect they could hear him. But I would guess a noisy prisoner wasn't their problem.
astridmyrna 2nd-May-2012 03:47 am (UTC)
I'm glad that guy's alive but holy fuck.
twizzler_11 2nd-May-2012 03:49 am (UTC)
I'm a little confused - so he was told he could go home, but them he was placed in a cell? What happened between those two occurrences? Anything?

But seriously - AWFUL.
lickbrains 2nd-May-2012 03:51 am (UTC)
I don't know what could have happened. Maybe the escort misunderstood and took him to a holding cell. I don't know how that could have happened but ugh. I really don't know.
13chapters 2nd-May-2012 03:51 am (UTC)
oh my fucking god. I hope everyone up in this place gets their ass fired.
evilegg 2nd-May-2012 03:52 am (UTC)
Why couldn't he spread his arms in a 5'x10' cell? How big is this guy?
stereosymbiosis 2nd-May-2012 04:11 am (UTC)
that was my first thought too actually. a person's armspan is pretty much the same as their height, so unless this guy is over 10 feet tall he still should have been able to spread his arms
teacoat 2nd-May-2012 03:57 am (UTC)
Among all the other fuckery about this...

Why was there meth in a DEA holding cell? Shouldn't they, you know, check for that stuff?
wicked_g 2nd-May-2012 04:12 am (UTC)
Well, if they couldn't hear him in that cell, I imagine that that's not the only thing they were negligent about.
wicked_g 2nd-May-2012 04:11 am (UTC)

sweeetkiwi 2nd-May-2012 04:16 am (UTC)
wow he better get millions

that is so sad
mimblexwimble 2nd-May-2012 04:27 am (UTC)
That's appalling.
shadowpiranha 2nd-May-2012 04:28 am (UTC)
Holy fucking hell I can't even...I hope everyone who was asleep on the job or just careless enough to let a thing like this happen is fired at the very least.
anolinde 2nd-May-2012 04:30 am (UTC)
What the hell?!
aliice 2nd-May-2012 04:30 am (UTC)
This is so fucking awful, what the HELL
hoodoo 2nd-May-2012 04:47 am (UTC)
what. the. fuck?!

this is beyond appalling
romp 2nd-May-2012 06:33 am (UTC)
that's terrifying--I don't imagine he's going to recover soon, mentally or physically
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