A 25-year-old college student reached a $4.1 million settlement with the US government after he was abandoned in a windowless cell for more than four days without food or water, his attorneys said on Tuesday.
Daniel Chong said he drank his own urine to stay alive, hallucinated that agents were trying to poison him with gases through the vents, and tried to carve a farewell message to his mother in his arm.
It remained unclear how the situation occurred, and no one has been disciplined, said Eugene Iredale, an attorney for Chong.
“It sounded like it was an accident — a really, really horrible accident,” Chong said.
Chong was taken into custody during a drug raid and placed in the cell in April 2012 by a police officer authorised to perform Drug Enforcement Administration work. The officer told Chong he would not be charged and said, “’Hang tight, we’ll come get you in a minute,’” Iredale said.
Justice Department spokeswoman Allison Price confirmed the settlement for $4.1 million but declined to answer other questions. Chong said he planned to save and buy his parents a house.
Chong was a 23-year-old engineering student when he was at a friend’s house where the DEA found 18,000 ecstasy pills, other drugs and weapons. Iredale confirmed Chong consumed marijuana.
Chong and eight other people were taken into custody, but authorities decided against pursuing charges against him after questioning.
Chong said he accepted the possibility of death. He was hospitalised for five days for dehydration and kidney failure. He lost 7 kg.