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4/20 was a day to celebrate and surround yourself with like minded smokers for many, but for one UC San Diego student it was the start to nearly 5 terrible days that would culminate in a suicide attempt in a DEA holding cell.
Daniel Chong, after celebrating 4/20, was at a friend’s home on Saturday. The house was raided by the Drug Enforcement Agency, who found 18,000 ecstasy pills, along with guns and ammunition. DEA officials have said that the pills did not belong to Chong, and that his extended detainment was an accident, but that has been very little comfort to the student.
Daniel Chong was brought in by the DEA for questioning regarding the ecstasy bust, but was not charged or arrested, and was placed in a holding cell. He was told he would be released that same day. One officer reportedly offered him a ride home. He did not get to leave, however, on April 21st.
Daniel Chong was forgotten in the 5-foot-by-10-foot windowless DEA holding cell, and for nearly 5 days he screamed and cried for food, water, a toilet, but the DEA was deaf to his calls.
Chong told NBC he drank his own urine out of fear of dehydration, and was treated for near kidney failure when finally taken to a hospital. Chong was kept in Intensive Care for 3 days, also recovering from a torn esophagus after eating his own broken glasses in an attempt to end his life. He says hallucinations started on the 3rd day, and without food or water he was sure he would die in the DEA’s cell. He broke his glasses, and began to cut a message into his forearm, the shortest he could think of to express his condolences to his parents, “Sorry mom.”
DEA agents discovered Daniel Chong in their holding cell after more than 4 days unattended, and drove him to the hospital where they paid for his medical care. Special agent in charge of the San Diego division of the DEA, William Sherman, has extended his “deepest apologies [to] the young man,” adding that he ordered an “extensive review” of the DEA procedures leading up this this incident. Chong has filed a $20 million claim against the DEA following what he calls a “life-altering” ordeal.
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