DEA Faces PR Nightmare After Leaving UCSD Student in Cell For 5 Days Without Food, Water

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency almost killed a UC San Diego college student by abandoning him in a prison cell for 5 days without food or water.

Daniel Chong was imprisoned on April 21 when DEA agents raided the home of a friend he was visiting. Chong was detained for questioning but not arrested, not charged with a crime, and should have been released. Instead, agents locked him in a cell and forgot all about him.

Chong was forced to drink his own urine to survive. There were no restroom facilities in the 5-by-10-foot cell, but oddly enough, there was methamphetamine, which agents admit was left there accidentally. Chong descended into psychosis, eating glass from his own broken eyeglasses. When he was finally discovered, he was suffering severe dehydration, a perforated esophagus and kidney failure.

The DEA only issued an apology to Chong today, two full days after the press began reporting on the incident, and a week after he was discovered near death in his cell.

Even more appalling, the initial statement by the DEA about Chong offers no contrition, nor does it acknowledge the length of time Chong was locked away for and that he nearly died. In fact, the statement casts Chong as more of a druggie than a victim of starvation:

When Agents found the individual in question, they were told by the individual that he had used a white powdery substance that he found in the cell. The agents who found the young man in question called EMS, and field tested the substance, which tested positive for methamphetamine.

Chong didn’t “use” the packet of white powder agents left in his cell, he ate it in desperation. He was unaware that the powder contained methamphetamine.