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San Diego Man Forgotten In Cell Says He Drank Urine

A San Diego college student who federal drug agents forgot and left in a holding cell for five days without food, water or access to a toilet said Tuesday that he drank his own urine to survive.

Daniel Chong also said that he bit into his glasses to break them and tried to use a shard to scratch "Sorry Mom" into his arm, according to U-T San Diego.

The 24-year-old University of California, San Diego, engineering student was swept up as one of nine suspects in an April 21 drug raid that netted 18,000 ecstasy pills, other drugs and weapons.

Chong said federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents told him he would be let go. One agent even promised to drive him home from the DEA field office in Kearny Mesa, he said.

Instead, he was returned to a holding cell to await release. DEA spokeswoman Amy Roderick said he was accidentally left there.


Daniel Chong News Conference

Chong said he could hear the muffled voices of agents outside his five-by-10-foot windowless cell and the door of the next cell being opened and closed. He kicked and screamed as loud as he could, but apparently, his cries for help went unheard.

"I had to recycle my own urine," he said. "I had to do what I had to do to survive."

When he was found on April 25, he was taken to a hospital and treated for cramps, dehydration and a perforated lung — the result of ingesting the broken glass.

"When they opened the door, one of them said 'Here's the water you've been asking for," Chong said. "But I was pretty out of it at the time."

Chong also ingested a white powder DEA agents said was left in the cell accidentally and later identified as methamphetamine.

The agency hasn't commented on Chong's claim that he was without basic necessities for days.

Chong's attorney, Eugene Iredale, said he plans to file a claim against the federal government, and if it is denied he will proceed with filing a federal lawsuit.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | May 2, 2012 at 8:31 a.m. ― 4 years, 10 months ago

What the heck!? How did they accidentally leave methamphetamine in a holding cell? How did it even get there in the first place? All I can think of is that someone else who was in the cell before Mr Chong was hiding it on his person and "expelled" it while in the holding cell.

I am not sure why Mr Chong decided to eat mystery powder he found in his cell though... perhaps this drug caused him to eat his glasses.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | May 2, 2012 at 12:45 p.m. ― 4 years, 10 months ago

A very disturbing story indeed. It is amazing that he survived, I think. Someone needs to be fired for this and even prosecuted.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | May 2, 2012 at 2:47 p.m. ― 4 years, 10 months ago

I wonder if they "forgot" him in his cell for a few days and then roughly interrogated him once they "remembered" he was in the cell. After all, the prosecutor needs to get another win under their belt to help their career!

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 2, 2012 at 5:31 p.m. ― 4 years, 10 months ago

Disturbing, but bound to happen.

When you decide to become the world's prison state, things are bound to happen either accidentally or "accidentally".

It's really disturbing how many Americans really don't care about prisoners rights or prisoners abuse. Even if this guy was guilty of something, he should never have been treated like this.

So much of our hard earned tax money goes to feed the prison-industrial complex in this country, yet so few people who aren't themselves in prison or have a loved one in prison even cares what goes on behind those walls.

This story will merely be a blip in the system, it will soon fade off the media spotlight and things will be back to free reign behind bars as the powerful prison lobbies and the political swine they feed work hard to keep silent.

I have said it many, many times before in my posting on blogs over the years, and I'll say it again now:

**Normal people don't wake up one morning and decide they want to work in a prison.**

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Avatar for user 'benz72'

benz72 | May 3, 2012 at 7:44 a.m. ― 4 years, 10 months ago

PDSD, is your statement that all prison guards and wardens are somehow abnormal?

Read literally, your statement could apply to any number of jobs e.g. Normal people don't wake up in the morning and decide they want to work in a slaughterhouse - or- normal people don't wake up in the morning and decide they want to work in an underground bunker or missile silo.

That may make butchers and STRATCOM employees "abnormal" as well, but it seems like you are trying to imply something else. Can you elaborate on your statement?

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | May 3, 2012 at 8:03 a.m. ― 4 years, 10 months ago

Drug laws exist to funnel money from the taxpayers into the pockets of corporations that run private prisons. They do not exist to help citizens.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | May 3, 2012 at 12:39 p.m. ― 4 years, 10 months ago

Jean Marc, agree with your 5/2 . . . for once.

I haven't read anything as to whether the confiscated weapons were in the presence of Mr. Chong when he was arrested. At the very least, he was hanging with the wrong crowd.

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Avatar for user 'Len'

Len | May 3, 2012 at 2:10 p.m. ― 4 years, 10 months ago

@JeanMarc. He "decided" to eat the powder because he was starving. He'd have eaten anything. He drank his own urine. To even suggest he ate it for whatever effects meth has is ludicrous. A quick google search suggests meth doesn't "work" when ingested, but if it did, and he ate it for the effect, who can blame him?
@Benz. You think that people whose vocation is controlling other humans, through violence or threat of it, in cages, are "normal"? Studies of jailors, at least since Nuremburg, show them not to be psychologically like the norm. One need look back no farther than the behavior of "guards" at Abu Ghraib. Do you think torturers are "normal"?
The Air Force examined the psychology of "silo" personnel at great depth before assigning them (or not.) Their profiles probably are different than jailors' but they are not like the norm or they wouldn't have gotten assigned.
@Missionaccomp. I suggest at the very MOST, he was hanging with the "wrong" crowd. The very wrong people were those who left him in the cell for 5 days. Evidence released so far doesn't strongly support that it was accidental.

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Avatar for user 'benz72'

benz72 | May 3, 2012 at 2:26 p.m. ― 4 years, 10 months ago

Len, I'd be careful with the implication that all jailors are sadistic sociopaths.
The few I have talked to were very reasonable human beings who dealt with some pretty horrid miscreants. Not to say that everybody who is imprisoned is bad, but if I had the choice to trust either a prison guard or a prison inmate my bet is on the guard.

As a slightly separate response, I'm not yet convinced normalcy is anything to aspire to.

Back on topic... unacceptably bad performance, investigate and correct it.

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Avatar for user 'Len'

Len | May 3, 2012 at 2:40 p.m. ― 4 years, 10 months ago

Benz. I didn't say "all" jailors are anything other than not representative of the norm. (But I'll take your advice and "be careful." Can't have jailors tracking me down.) You switched the topic from the pyscholigical profile of typical jailors--no profile of any vocation applies to every one in it--to whether I'd "trust" them. Trust them for what? is the question. (Please don't answer it.)
You think locking a man in a room without food or water, much of it in the dark, is "bad performance." Some would say criminally cruel, inhumane, behavior, whether by accident or design. Almost certainly, we'll never know the truth. I hope the victim is awarded $20 million, though I doubt he would accept $20 million if it could have prevented his prolonged torture.

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