DEA San Diego Acting Special Agent-In-Charge William R. Sherman said in a statement to the Associated Press that he extended his “deepest apologies” to 24-year-old Daniel Chong, an engineering student at UC San Diego. The DEA is investigating the incident.
Chong was arrested along with eight other people during a drug raid on April 21. DEA agents reportedly seized a large amount of drugs and some weapons.
Seven of those arrested were taken to jail and one was released. Chong was not charged with a crime and should have been released as well. However, he was left handcuffed in a 5 ft. by 10 ft. holding cell.
Chong said he screamed and kicked the door, but to no avail. He said he could hear DEA workers walking around outside the cell.
“I kicked the door many, many times,” he explained during a press conference. “Even my [cell] neighbors were getting annoyed, telling me to shut up.”
Eventually, he began hallucinating and drank his own urine in hopes of staying hydrated. After days without any human contact, he tried to kill himself by breaking his glasses with his teeth, and using the glass to cut himself.
Surprisingly, Chong found a bag of methamphetamine in the holding cell, which he ingested out of hunger and because he wanted to stay awake. DEA agents said the bag was left in the cell accidentally.
After five days, a DEA worker heard noises coming from the holding cell and discovered him. Chong was taken to the hospital, where he spent three days in the intensive care unit.
During a press conference, Chong thanked that hospital workers who helped him recover.
He plans to take legal action against the federal government.
“The DEA’s answer to this is: ‘Oh, we forgot about him. I’m sorry,’” his lawyer said. “He nearly died. If he had been there another 12 to 24 hours he probably would have died.”
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