Student Forgotten in DEA Cell Gets $4.1M Payout

He nearly died during 5 days with no food, water

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 31, 2013 1:10 AM CDT

(Newser) – A UC San Diego student has been awarded a settlement that amounts to $820,000 for each of the hellish five days he spent forgotten in a DEA interrogation room with no food, water, or toilet facilities. The Department of Justice approved the $4.1 settlement with Daniel Chong, whose lawyer describes his treatment as a "mistake of unbelievable and unimaginable proportions," reports the Los Angeles Times.

Chong, taken into custody during a drug raid last year, was told he was being released without charge and was placed in the small, windowless room by an officer who said, "Hang tight, we'll come get you in a minute," the Wall Street Journal reports. He was found by DEA employees five days later, hallucinating, severely dehydrated, and covered in his own feces. He lost 15 pounds and was diagnosed with severe post-traumatic stress disorder. Nobody has been disciplined over his ordeal, but the DEA has changed procedures at its field stations.

What happened to Daniel Chong should never happen to any human being on the face of the planet, his lawyer says.
"What happened to Daniel Chong should never happen to any human being on the face of the planet," his lawyer says.   (Shutterstock)
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