DEA to pay $4.1 million to Calif. college student forgotten for 5 days

July 30, 2013 at 7:56 PM
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SAN DIEGO, July 30 (UPI) -- The Drug Enforcement Administration will pay a California college student left forgotten in a locked room for five days $4.1 million, his attorney said Tuesday.

The government payout came in advance of a lawsuit, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Daniel Chong, 25, a student at the University of California, San Diego, was picked up by the DEA during an April 2012 raid on an off-campus house where he had gone to smoke marijuana with friends. Chong was questioned by agents, then for reasons unknown wound up left alone for five days in a 5-foot by 10-foot, windowless room with no food, water or toilet.

Chong said he screamed for help and eventually hallucinated. He was forced to drink his urine to survive and broke his glasses to scrawl the message "Sorry, mom" on his arm, thinking he would die.

"It was an accident, a really bad, horrible accident," said Chong, accompanied by his attorney, Eugene Iredale, who had said he intended to file a $20 million lawsuit.

When found by DEA staff, Chong was dehydrated, near kidney failure, had difficulty breathing and was covered in his own feces. He spent five days in a hospital and said he now has post-traumatic stress disorder, the Times said.

A DEA official apologized to Chong, who wasn't charged in the drug raid, and ordered a review of agency policies.

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