Moral Low Ground


Daniel Chong, UCSD Student Detained in DEA Drug Sting, Forced to Drink His Urine after Being Forgotten in Cell for 5 Days

A San Diego college student detained– not arrested– in a drug sting was forced to drink his own urine to survive after being locked up and forgotten for five days in a DEA holding cell.

According to ABC News, 24-year-old Daniel Chong, an engineering student at the University of California at San Diego who says he was at a friend’s home celebrating the unofficial marijuana smoker’s holiday 4/20, was detained in an April 21 Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) drug sting in which 18,000 hits of ecstasy, other drugs and weapons were seized.

Chong claims DEA agents informed him that he would be released; one agent even promised to drive him home from the Kearny Mesa field office.

But the young man was locked in a holding cell while awaiting release, and agents apparently forgot him there– for five days. There was no food, no water, no toilet in his 5’x10′ cell.

Chong could hear agents outside his windowless cell but his screams for help went unheeded.

“I had to recycle my own urine,” he told ABC News. “I had to do what I had to do to survive.”

Chong thought he would die in that cell. He bit into his glasses to break them so he could carve “sorry mom” into his arm.

When he was finally discovered on April 25, he was in poor condition and had to be hospitalized and treated for cramps, dehydration and a perforated lung, the result of swallowing a shard from his glasses.

“When they opened the door, one of them said, ‘Here’s the water you’ve been asking for,” Chong told ABC News.

Chong has trouble believing he was left in the cell for so long by accident.

“The word ‘accident,’ I don’t see how that’s possible,” he told NBC San Diego.

Eugene Iredale, the lawyer representing the young man, said he would file a claim against the federal government. If that fails, he will file a federal lawsuit.

“If I were to tell you that in Abu Ghraib (the Iraqi prison where US troops tortured detainees) somebody had been locked up for four-and-a-half or five days without food or water, we would be shocked that even people suspected of terrorism were given such treatment,” Iredale told NBC San Diego.

“This was a young man who had done nothing wrong other than to have some questionable associations and to be at the wrong place at the wrong time,” he added.

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