Daniel Chong, a UC San Diego student who says he was left in a cell for five days by the DEA without food, drink or human contact, drank his own urine and hallucinated over the course of the harrowing experience.
The Drug Enforcement Administration raided the house of one of Daniel Chong's friends in University City, Calif., on April 20 and apprehended Chong, taking him to a holding cell in nearby Kearny Mesa, Calif., and allegedly forgetting about him for several days, according to NBC San Diego.
Before leaving him in the cell, agents allegedly told him he could go home and that he could get a ride from one of them and declined to bring criminal charges against the 23-year-old college student.
Five Days of Hell:
What happened next defies belief. According to Daniel Chong and his lawyers, the agents allegedly proceeded to inexplicably leave him by himself in a 5 foot by 10 foot cell for five days, the local NBC affiliate reported, and he says he began to lose his sanity as time wore on, ending up almost entirely incoherent by the time agents released him. If that weren't bad enough, he lost 15 pounds while in DEA custody, and had to spend three days in the intensive care unit at Sharp Hospital as his kidneys almost failed during his period of incarceration.
They never came back, ignored all my cries and I still don't know what happened, he told the local news station. I'm not sure how they could forget me.
The DEA confirmed that it is investigating an incident that is very similar to Daniel Chong's ordeal, but it has not apologized to him for the gross mistreatment.
Chong said he had to drink his urine in order to keep from dying, and he allegedly also ate a powder he found on the cell's floor, which turned out to be methamphetamine, NBC San Diego reported.
I had to do what I had to do to survive....I hallucinated by the third day, he said. I was completely insane.
No Way Out:
Daniel Chong told the NBC affiliate that he was able to hear DEA personnel and other inmates, and that he screamed to them for help and kicked the cell's door but was unable to get a reply.
He said he then went on to attempt to kill himself by breaking his glasses and using the glass to try to carve Sorry Mom into his arm, and he allegedly also tried to eat the broken glass, as pieces of it were found in his throat by nurses.
I didn't think I would come out, Chong said.
Daniel Chong's lawyer compared his ordeal to the torture of terror suspects at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad:
Daniel Chong has described his treatment at the hands of the DEA as a life-altering experience. He said he missed his midterms at UC San Diego, and that he does not know if he will go back to school because of the ways his period of solitary confinement have changed his outlook on life.
Solitary confinement has been found to cause a number of serious psychological issues that can impact a person for years after their imprisonment ends.
One report by activism group Solitary Watch found that since the 1970s, research has been amassed indicating that solitary confinement does alter neural and therefore psychological states.One study found that those in solitary developed psychopathologies at higher rates than those in the general population (28% vs. 15%).
The YouTube video below is a recording of an NBC San Diego interview with Daniel Chong: