L.A. NOW

Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

DEA apologizes to student who says he drank his urine to survive

The Drug Enforcement Administration has apologized to a San Diego college student who said he drank his own urine to survive after being left in a holding cell for five days without food, water or access to a toilet.

The man, identified by news outlets as 23-year-old UC San Diego engineering student Daniel Chong, was “accidentally” left in the holding cell after he and eight other people were detained for questioning following an April 21 raid in which agents found guns, ammunition and an array of drugs, including 18,000 ecstasy pills, the DEA said.

“I am deeply troubled by the incident that occurred here last week,” William R. Sherman, acting special agent in charge of DEA's San Diego Division, said in a statement Wednesday.

“I extend my deepest apologies [to] the young man and want to express that this event is not indicative of the high standards that I hold my employees to,” Sherman said, adding he has ordered “an extensive review” of DEA policies and procedures.

Identified by the DEA only as “the individual in question,” Chong and the others were swept up during a raid of a suspected ecstasy distribution operation and taken to DEA area headquarters, the agency said.

All of the suspects were fingerprinted, photographed and interviewed individually, as agents moved them among the five cells at the DEA post.

After processing, seven of the nine were taken to a county detention facility, one was released and Chong was “accidentally left in one of the cells,” the DEA said, without elaborating.

As days went by, Chong told NBC San Diego, he “kicked the door many, many times,” in a futile attempt to get agents’ attention. He eventually drank his urine to survive, he said, began hallucinating and tried to kill himself by breaking his glasses and cutting his wrist.

“I didn’t care if I died,” he told the station. “I was completely insane.”

When agents finally discovered Chong, he was taken to a hospital and admitted to an intensive-care unit for several days, the station said.

The DEA said Chong told agents he had been at the house that was raided “to get high with his friends” and that he later admitted using a white powdery substance found in his cell that tested positive for methamphetamine. He has not been charged.

“The individual is not currently under arrest,” the DEA said in a statement, “and we plan to thoroughly review both the events and the detention procedures on April 21st and after.”

ALSO:

Public warned not to fly kites near airports

San Diego college student forgotten in cell says he drank his urine

Couple get $6-million settlement in 2008 Santa Barbara County fire

 -- Kim Christensen and Tony Perry

 
Comments () | Archives (0)

Connect

Recommended on Facebook


Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Video

About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.

Categories




Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: