The DEA's $4 Million Mistake

You've heard of the War on Drugs? It's the war where agencies of the U.S. government - the Drug Enforcement Administration, in this case - put someone in a holding cell for more than four days and forget all about him.

And he wasn't even going to be charged with a drug crime to begin with.

This young engineering student, 25-year-old Daniel Chong, obviously felt the full brunt of the war when he realized no one was coming to get him. He resorted to drinking his own urine in an effort to stay hydrated. He hallucinated that DEA agents were trying to gas him through the vents. He managed to cut an S into his arm, the beginning of an "I'm sorry" to his mother.

This story comes to us by way of Alicia Caldwell with the Associated Press, who quotes Chong: "It sounded like it was an accident - a really, really bad, horrible accident."

Accident or not, the DEA has agreed to a settlement of more than $4 million to be paid to Chong. Caldwell lists Chong's injuries: Five days of hospitalization for dehydration, kidney failure, cramps, a perforated esophagus.

So what got him into the holding cell in the first place?

Caldwell reports that he got scooped up in a drug raid on a friend's house. He'd intended on smoking marijuana at this house before DEA agents came through and discovered 18,000 pills of ecstasy, among other things, but Chong apparently wasn't going to be charged with any crime after he was questioned.


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