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Daniel Chong, Man Forgotten In Cell For Days, Files $20 Million Claim Against DEA

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 05/ 3/2012 3:17 pm Updated: 05/ 3/2012 4:26 pm

Chong
Daniel Chong, the student who spent 5 days in a DEA holding cell without food or water, seeks $20 million from the federal agency.

Daniel Chong, the 23-year-old UC San Diego student who spent nearly five days behind bars without food or water, wants $20 million from the Drug Enforcement Administration for the epic "accident."

The Los Angeles Times reports that Chong -- who had to drink his own urine to survive in his 5-foot-by-10-foot cell -- filed paperwork on Wednesday because his treatment constitutes torture under United States and international law.

Chong was detained on April 20 while he was at the house of alleged ecstasy dealers. He wasn't charged with any crime -- though his lawyer told police he was at the house smoking marijuana -- but he was forgotten and left in his holding cell.

He was found more than four days later when an agent randomly opened the door, the Associated Press reported. Chong told reporters that the bewildered agent asked, "Where'd you come from?"

The DEA apologized publicly for the flop, calling it an "accident."

During his time inside the cell, Chong said he had drank his own urine to stay hydrated, considered suicide, ate glass and broke his own glasses to carve the words "Sorry Mom" into his arm.

"I pretty much lost my mind," he said on Wednesday.

He spent five days in the hospital for dehydration, kidney failure, cramps and a perforated esophagus -- an injury consistent with eating glass. He had lost 15 pounds.

"He is glad to be alive," Chong's lawyer, Gene Iredale told the Los Angeles Times. "He wants to make sure that what happened to him doesn't happen to anyone else."

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