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05-03-2012, 09:25 #1Lieutenant
- Join Date
- Mar 2002
Student picked up in DEA raid was 'forgotten' in cell for 5 days
Published: Wednesday, May 02, 2012, 11:21 PM
By Associated Press
SAN DIEGO -- The Drug Enforcement Administration issued an apology Wednesday to a California student who was picked up during a drug raid and left in a holding cell for five days without food, water or access to a toilet.
DEA San Diego Acting Special Agent-In-Charge William R. Sherman said in a prepared statement that he was troubled by the treatment of Daniel Chong and extended his "deepest apologies" to him.
The agency is investigating how its agents forgot about Chong.
Chong, 23, was never arrested, was not going to be charged with a crime and should have been released, said a law enforcement official who was briefed on the DEA case and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The engineering student at the University of California, San Diego, told U-T San Diego that he drank his own urine to survive and that he bit into his glasses to break them and tried to use a shard to scratch "Sorry Mom" into his arm.
His lawyer, Eugene Iredale, said Chong went to his friend's house on April 20 to get high and fell asleep. Agents stormed in at 9 a.m. the next day and swept him up as one of nine suspects in a raid that netted 18,000 ecstasy pills, other drugs and weapons.
He was questioned for four hours and then told that he would be released, Iredale told the Associated Press. Chong was handcuffed and placed back in a holding cell.
He remained in the 5-by-10-foot cell from April 21 until April 25, when he was taken out on a gurney by paramedics.
"He couldn't fully stretch out his arms," Iredale said. "There was no restroom facilities, no water, no food."
The only view out was through a tiny peephole in the solid door. He could hear the muffled voices of agents and the sound of the door of the next cell being opened and closed. He kicked and screamed as loud as he could.
At one point, he ripped his clothing and shoved a shred of it under the door, hoping someone would spot it and rescue him, his attorney said. He tried to dig through the walls with his handcuffed hands to get water to come out, Iredale said. He ripped away foam from the wall.
"I had to recycle my own urine," Chong told the U-T San Diego. "I had to do what I had to do to survive."
After three days, he began to hallucinate, Iredale said. The pain was so intense that he bit into his glasses and swallowed a shard, cutting his esophagus. He took the broken bits and started carving into his arm but stopped after the "S," Iredale said. His lawyer believes he was thinking of killing himself.
When he was found on April 25, paramedics took him to a hospital where he was treated for cramps, dehydration, a perforated esophagus and kidney failure, his lawyer said. He spent three days in intensive care and five total at the hospital before leaving Sunday.
The top DEA agent in San Diego said he has personally ordered an extensive review of his office's policies and procedures.
Iredale said he plans to file a claim against the federal government and, if it is denied, he will proceed with filing a federal lawsuit.
05-03-2012, 09:33 #2
This obviously is unacceptable. Although I see he and his attorney are using the media to wage a strong campaign for quick settlement. Obviously a process breakdown. Somewhere in their arrest/clearance procedures, there should be a cell check and sign off that the cells are clear and have been searched prior to ending the op. They'll work on the breakdown in commo, while a quick settlement appears in the offing for Mr. Chong.
I stopped listening when they started to allege maybe torture was involved. OK, we get it, now let's fix the problem and settle his case.“In order to attain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd.” — Miguel de Cervantes
05-06-2012, 15:54 #3Sergeant
- Join Date
- Jul 2000
Log book with cell checks every 30 minutes just like every other jail in America. I'm thinking somewhere in the neighborhood of a $500k offer from the Department; and about $3m from the Bivens judge/jury.Stay safe!
05-06-2012, 23:56 #4
The layout in the SD office is weird, off the beaten path and designated as holding cells only. No overnight/extended stays. Someone just screwed up. SAC manned up, stated review will be conducted and agency issued apology. Now the Ambulance Chaser attorney can see what he can get. All that publicity was just to raise the ante.“In order to attain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd.” — Miguel de Cervantes