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DEA starves an inmate, then eats crow

May 02, 2012|By Karin Klein
  • Daniel Chong, a UC San Diego student who has spoken out about his detention by the Drug Enforcement Agency.
Daniel Chong, a UC San Diego student who has spoken out about his detention… (K.C. Alfred / Associated…)

At least the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency knows what it has to do right now. Apologize. Promise an investigation. Probably pay a tidy settlement. And another apology might be good.

After all, it didn't know there was a young man in there, reportedly drinking his urine to survive.

The agency somehow forgot about the UC San Diego student it had detained in a drug sweep along with several others. The others were either sent to a county detention facility or released. With only five cells, the DEA apparently couldn't keep tabs on what was happening in all of them.

No one is alleging that the student, 23-year-old Daniel Chong, is an angel. He was brought in after a raid in which agents found a large quantity of drugs, including 18,000 ecstasy pills, as well as guns and ammunition. Chong reportedly told the drug agents he had gone to the house to get high.

Chong says that while in detention he drank his own urine and broke his glasses thinking he might kill himself with them. There also are reports that he might have started to carve a message to his mother in his skin. He yelled for help and kicked the door.

Chong has not been charged. Maybe he's learned a terrible lesson.

We'll have to wait to see what the DEA learns about itself during its investigation and any subsequent legal action. Maybe that boneheadedness is expensive?


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