DEA “Forgot” Drug Suspect In Cell For 5 Days

A college student detained by the DEA on drug charges claims he was forgotten in a windowless cell for five days with no food or water and had to drink his own urine to survive.

Daniel Chong, a San Diego college student, was at a friend’s house on April 21 when he was detained as one of nine suspects in a drug raid. The raid uncovered tens of thousands of ecstasy pills, drugs and weapons at the home. Chong says he was told by the DEA that they knew he was an innocent bystander, and that he would shortly be released.  One DEA agent even offered to drive him home, he said. However, instead of being released, he was put in to a holding cell — and then seemingly forgotten for five days.

During his ordeal, he screamed and begged to be released. He could hear people outside his cell and the sound of the cell door next to him being opened and closed, but nobody appeared to hear him. Chong says he had to “recycle” his own urine to survive. He bit into his glasses to get a sharp object to scratch “Sorry Mom” into his arm. Pieces of the glass were also found in his throat. While trapped, he also ingested a white powder substance left in his cell, now confirmed to be methamphetamine. His condition deteriorated rapidly, and Chong says he was “completely incoherent” by the end of his ordeal. The DEA finally opened the door and discovered him on April 25 and immediately called paramedics. Chong was in kidney failure and spent several days in the hospital before being released.

The DEA confirmed in a statement that a suspect was  left in a cell “by accident” for a period of days, and also that methamphetamine was inadvertently present in the same cell. They have, however, no explanation for anything — why Chong appears to have been forgotten for five days, why methamphetamine was in the cell, why anything. The DEA says it is investigating the situation.

Chong, who missed several midterms during his ordeal, says he will file a claim against the federal court system on Wednesday.


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Photo credit: Decade_null on Flickr.


Jane R.
Jane R5 years ago

How in the hell could they not have heard his cries for help when they were at the cell next to his? He heard them open the next cell door and begged for help. It was no accident. They ignored him on purpose. I hope he gets a big settlement!!

Sheri P.
Sheri P5 years ago

that is so awful! mistake? how do you make a "mistake" like that?

Michael M.
Michael M5 years ago

Welcome to the Police State. :p

Christine Stewart
Christine S5 years ago

Completely unacceptable- so many people working there need to have severe reprimands ( or worse) for ignoring his pleas for water for days!

Matt L5 years ago

That's a rather large "mistake", stretches believability as some have said already, but whether intentional or just very incompetent it's bad either way. Frankly I'd be happy if the DEA was disbanded. They have a reputation for being trigger-happy thugs as it is. The whole drug war has been destructive and counter-productive. Some European countries have figured out more effective and less violent methods to mitigate drug abuse. We should copy methods that actually work.

He should not have much trouble getting a large settlement at least.

Josha N.
Josha N5 years ago

Outrageous! I hope he sues them into the damn ground!

Stefanie D.
Stefanie D.5 years ago

...and NO COINCIDENCE that if RACISM were the case.

That all family/friends noticing of his being MISSING and INFORMING the authorities, would EVER get the through, and have the DEA 'respond' to give his release. Allowing it would reveal that the DEA made a RACIST based 'accidental mistake'.

It required the DEA to figure this out 'alone'; bar any open admission to any deliberate racist act if confronted by family or friends. They STALLED at his expense because they didn't give a racist care.

Concealed RACISM is hard to detect, much less eradicate.
It's UGLY, but it is clearly there to me.

It's SO ingrained into the White American psyche MOST don't even know it.

Stefanie D.
Stefanie D.5 years ago

An ACCIDENT, that clearly is TAINTED with RACISM that it WREAKS of it.

Yeah, like we believe it was just a PLAIN ACCIDENT.

Welcome to the DEA.
Welcome to the USA.

If you are COLORED, expect nothing but the worst (if you live to survive it).

Karen Neisany
Karen Neisany5 years ago


Sandi C.
Sandi C5 years ago