Suspect forgotten in holding cell for days - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Suspect forgotten in holding cell for days

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A man taken into custody during a drug raid was left in a holding cell for five days, possibly without food or water.

The DEA says the suspect was accidentally left in one of the cells. During that time, he somehow gained access to methamphetamine.

Eugene Iredale says what happened to his client, 24-year-old Daniel Chong, isn't something he'd wish on his worst enemy, and is now taking legal action against the DEA agents he says left the handcuffed UCSD student in a federal holding cell for nearly five days without food or water.

"He screamed hundreds of times for help," Iredale said. "He began to hallucinate and he relates that he began to dig into the walls thinking he could get water that way."

Federal authorities detained the engineering student after an ecstasy raid in University City April 21, where Chong admits he was smoking marijuana with friends. Officials say they seized 18,000 ecstasy pills, marijuana, prescription medication, mushrooms, several weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition in the raid.

DEA spokesperson Amy Roderick says Chong was one of nine people detained in the raid and each person was questioned, fingerprinted and photographed in separate rooms.

Chong claims the holding cells were filthy, and used a bag of what was later determined to be methamphetamines he found inside to stay awake. But after three days, he became suicidal, breaking his glasses with his teeth so he could cut his wrists.

"This is an S in pitch black trying to write 'Sorry mom,' but I couldn't even aim so I gave up on that one," Chong said, showing his wrist.

Eventually DEA agents found him and took him to Sharp Hospital, where he spent three days in intensive care. Now his attorney says he won't rest until his client gets justice.

"The people in this particular case who are responsible should be held responsible civilly, and if need be and it's appropriate, criminally," Iredale said.

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