Daniel Chong, a San Diego college student, was picked up as one of nine suspects in a drug raid that recovered 18,000 ecstasy pills.
After being taken to a holding cell to await release, DEA agents forgot about Chong, and the 24-year-old’s five-day ordeal began.
Chong claimed that he was forced to drink his own urine to survive. It is also reported that he broke his glasses and attempted to slash his wrists.
The engineering student said that he had kicked and screamed as loud as he could in the windowless cell, but nobody heard him.
The suit filed on behalf of Chong claims that he was subjected to torture.
“The deprivation of food and water for four and one-half days while the person is handcuffed the entire time constitutes torture under both international and domestic law,” the claim states, according to the San Diego Union Tribune.
The DEA has publicly apologised to Chong.
According to ABC News, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the DEA office in San Diego William R. Sherman said: “I am deeply troubled by the incident that occurred here last week. I extend my deepest apologies to the young man and want to express that this event is not indicative of the high standards that I hold my employees to. I have personally ordered an extensive review of our policies and procedures.”
A spokesman for the DEA, Amy Roderick, confirmed: “Each suspect was interviewed in separate interview rooms, and frequently moved around between rooms and cells.
“The individual in question was accidentally left in one of the cells.”
Chong told NBC that he began to hallucinate in the cell, adding: “I was completely insane. It’s impossible to describe hallucinations like these.”
It took Chong five days in hospital to recover from the ordeal. He was never charged with a crime.