SHOCK: DEA abandoned prisoner in cell to die

For five days Daniel Chong was left without food or water, resorting to drinking his own urine and attempted to take his own life to end the pain of starvation.

His crime? Smoking marijuana with some friends for a 4/20 celebration. From NBC San Diego:

Chong said he was at a friend’s house in University City celebrating 4/20, a day many marijuana users set aside to smoke, when agents came inside and raided the residence. Chong was then taken to the DEA office in Kearny Mesa.

He said agents questioned him, and then told him he could go home. One agent even offered him a ride, Chong said. No criminal charges were filed against him.

But Chong did not go home that night. Instead, he was placed in a cell for five days without any human contact and was not given food or drink. In his desperation, he said he was forced to drink his own urine.

“I had to do what I had to do to survive….I hallucinated by the third day,” Chong said. “I was completely insane.”

Chong said he lost roughly 15 pounds during the time he was alone. His lawyer confirmed that Chong ingested a powdery substance found inside the cell. Later testing revealed the substance was methamphetamine.

After days of being ignored, Chong said he tried to take his own life by breaking the glass from his spectacles with his teeth and then attempting to carve “Sorry mom,” on his arm. He said nurses also found pieces of glass in his throat, which led him to believe he ingested the pieces purposefully.

So not only do they put him in a cell, but a DEA cell is literally the gateway to methamphetamine. Brilliant.

I expect Chong’s vindication will indeed be monetary, and the DEA will attempt to sweep this abuse under the rug as an isolated incident of incompetence.

He spent three days in the intensive care unit at Sharp Hospital and his kidneys were close to failing.

Chong and his lawyer spoke to the media on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the claim they will file with the federal court system on Wednesday.

“He was at the wrong place at the wrong time,” said his lawyer Gene Iredale, who compared Chong’s experience to the torture suffered by inmates at in the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, Iraq

The DEA has not apologized to Chong, said Iredale.

The incident also caused Chong to miss his midterms at UCSD. He said he does not know if he will return to school, as his perspective on life has changed since his isolation.

San Diego defense attorney Gretchen Von Helms said the victim could get millions if he files a lawsuit.

“In all my years of practice I’ve never heard of the DEA or any Federal government employee simply forgetting about someone that they have in their care,” she said.

For their part, DEA San Diego Acting Special Agent-In-Charge William R. Sherman has issued a weak apology and promised to review procedure. Because nothing says “oops, we’re sorry” than identifying the exact part of the operation manual that says don’t leave a prisoner in jail without food or water and try to blame it on the arresting agent’s reading comprehension failure.

Better yet, how about some real criminal charges being filed against the DEA agents who took Chong into custody. If this is the result of a “war on drugs”, then a prosecutor should feel comfortable calling this heinous act a war crime.

Stephen VanDyke

I've published HoT along with about 300+ friends since 2002. We're all Americans who are snarky and love our country. I'm a libertarian that registered Republican because I like to win elections. That's pretty much it.

  1. This is another example of a federal government out of control. As we give more power to the so called law enforcement community we will continue to pay the price of reduced liberty and freedom.  The government must act swiftly and strongly to punish these uniformed thugs. Keep in mind Jefferson’s thoughts ….When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty…   If action is not taken against these thugs ( or idiots ?? ) ….. Then say  hello to your new masters..

  2. This is what happens when you give power over life and death to rogues, and fools.  Surely, this is a greater scandal than a dozen SS officers having legal, consensual, sex in Colombia, but it won’t get nearly the coverage in the MSM.   I can’t wait to hear the DEA spokesman say that it was Chong’s fault, since if he had not smoked marijuana, he wouldn’t have been in that situation.   It’s sort of like blaming the inability of moms to get adderal to treat their kids hyperactivity, caused by DEA regulations, on drug abusers.  Yeah, the Federal Government’s drugs of choice, STUPIDITY, and FEAR MONGERING.  The federal government is no doubt pleased, that it has finally proven that marijuana smoking can lead to death, even if it is death, by governmental incompetence.   No doubt they will claim he ate his glasses, due to the munchies.  Perhaps Congress will see fit to make crimes of wearing eyeglasses, and eye wear’s evil underlying cause, bad vision.  You can tell it’s evil, since it is described as bad.

    1. Yes, the DEA made a mistake but had Chong not been arrested it would not happen

      1. You have to be kidding right? we are all human and make mistakes. do you know how easy it is to get arrested and then later proven inocent, so what if this was the case. Then because he may have made such a minor none threatening to society, mistake or just being suspicious its ok for him to be left in a cell to die, to go insane. Your opinions nd perspectives are unreal.

  3. he “found” white powder in a cell… and then injested it? really?are you people fucking downsies?

    he’s getting “rid” of evidence.

    1. downsies… lol

      If that were true, it would still be a terrible indictment on the DEA agents who arrested him because it would mean they conducted an incompetent body search *this time* instead of a previous time.

    2. kinda think you are the fuckin downsie you idiot,,can you fathom the thought that maybe another person arrested before him hid it there i mean  if you imagine he had it and wasnt searched,,well why would we beleive the one before him was?,,or do you think the people are the ones conspiring against all forms of government,,wouldnt be surprised if you were a racist

    3. he “found” white powder in a cell… and then injested it? really?are you people fucking downsies?

      he’s getting “rid” of evidence.


    4. getting rid of evidence? makes no difference what he did or what he had or what he was getting charged for. Every person has a fair right to trial if the case is that serious. He had every right to fight for his innocence, and that is the law. He was treated as if he never existed, to be left in the darkness to go insane and die. you are innocent until proven guilty and he should have gotten this kind of respect. Not even murderers are treated this way. If there is no tolerance for ignorance in this country then there should be no tolerance for what happened to him. This should not be swept under the rug and labeled as a mistake. There are many people out there who have unintentionally killed a person and do you see them getting off the hook? No! pure negligence at the highest degree. Could have been Murder as a result of neglect or manslaughter. This shit is serious and no one would be fucking DOWNSIES to be in this situation, on the brink of death.

  4. Daniel Chong is 2012’s poster boy of the War on Drugs gone completely fucking downsies.

    End it. Vote Ron Paul or Gary Johnson!

  5. Bet you law enforement was so baked themselves that they forgot they ever even put him in there!

  6. With such a large amount of prisoners being arrested for nonviolent drug crimes, a few of them are bound to be forgotten and left to starve from time to time, yes we can.