Locked up and forgotten: the amazing ordeal of Daniel Chong

It’s a case that is bound to resonate with most Americans, from Florida to California (where it occurred).

And especially when viewed from the prism of, “It could have happened to me,” it is a flatly frightening — even horrifying — tale that fortunately ended up without the loss of life of an innocent person.

Ostensibly, yet only tangentially and in a most remote way, the story relates to illegal drugs, namely, federal agents’ seizure of marijuana, many thousands of ecstasy pills and hallucinogenic drugs, along with guns and ammunition, from a house in San Diego in April of last year.

One Daniel Chong, a 25-year-year old college student, was in that house when DEA agents raided it. Following his ordeal, he told media reporters he was visiting a friend and had nothing to do with, nor any knowledge concerning, criminal activity at the home. In fact, he never was arrested or charged with any crime.

But he was thrown into a tiny holding at the DEA facility, handcuffed and without access to food, water or a toilet.

And there he sat for five days, unmonitored, desperately trying to attract attention, before an agent discovered him.

“I was completely insane,” he later told a news station.

Chong drank his own urine to survive. He broke his glasses and penned a goodbye note to his mother in glass on one of his arms. He lost 15 pounds during his ordeal.

Chong’s attorney calls the matter “a mistake of unbelievable and unimaginable proportions.”

The DEA just settled a lawsuit in the matter, agreeing to pay Chong $4.1 million in damages.

Source: CNN Justice, “Daniel Chong, forgotten in DEA cell, settles suit for $4.1 million,” Stan Wilson,” Aug. 1, 2013