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Student sues DEA for abandoning him in jail cell, wins $4.1 million

Jul 31, 2013

Remember Daniel Chong? The University of California, San Diego student who the DEA arrested in a 4/20 drug bust in 2012 and then forgot in a jail cell for five days without food or water? He’s just been awarded $4.1 million in a lawsuit against the government.

Chong holds the dubious honor of being arrested in connection with a legitimate drug charge and coming out of it not only a free man but $4.1 million richer. The house where he was busted reportedly contained not only marijuana, mushrooms and prescription pills but also 18,000 ecstasy pills.

But he had to undergo one hell of an ordeal for the payout. Left handcuffed in a cell for five days without food or water, Chong had given up and resigned himself to death after initially fighting to survive by drinking his own urine. He managed to carve “sorry mom” into his arm, and waited for the inevitable. He was found in extremely poor condition.

Chong says he was visiting a friend at the house, knew nothing about the presence of drugs, and was never formally arrested or charged. His lawyer Julia Yoo said, “This was a mistake of unbelievable and unimaginable proportions.”

Chong initially sued for $20 million, but settled the suit for $4.1—still a life changing sum of money.

Image: SFExaminer

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