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Student left in DEA cell to get $4 million from US

3 years 2 months 4 weeks ago July 30, 2013 Jul 30, 2013 Tuesday, July 30 2013 July 30, 2013 11:13 AM in News
Source: Associated Press

SAN DIEGO - The Justice Department has agreed to pay $4.1 million to a California college student left in a Drug Enforcement Administration holding cell last year, according to two people familiar with the case.

Daniel Chong was detained in an April 2012 drug raid in San Diego and left in a windowless holding cell for four days without food or water. He says he drank his own urine to stay alive.

The people familiar with the case spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the settlement before it is officially announced.

Chong, who was attending University of California, San Diego, was at a friend's house in April 2012 when a DEA raid netted 18,000 ecstasy pills, other drugs and weapons. Chong and eight others were taken into custody.

Agents told Chong he would not be charged and had him wait in the 5-by-10-foot cell at DEA offices in San Diego. The door did not reopen for four days, when agents found him severely dehydrated and covered in his own feces.

Chong said he began to hallucinate on the third day. He urinated on a metal bench to drink his urine. He stacked a blanket, his pants and shoes on the bench and tried to reach an overhead fire sprinkler, futilely swatting at it with his cuffed hands to set it off.

Chong said last year that he gave up and accepted death. He bit into his eyeglasses to break them. He said he used a shard of glass to carve "Sorry Mom" onto his arm so he could leave something for her. He managed to finish an "S."

Chong was hospitalized five days for dehydration, kidney failure, cramps and a perforated esophagus. He lost 15 pounds.

The DEA issued a rare public apology at the time.

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