On Wednesday, attorneys for a 23-year-old University of California at San Diego student filed a $20 million lawsuit against the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.
Daniel Chong, had been busted on April 21, 2012 by the DEA during a drug sweep, thrown handcuffed into a dark windowless holding cell and forgotten for four days. After two days without food and water, a desperate Chong resorted to drinking his own urine to stay hydrated. His screams and banging on the door went unanswered.
Four days after his arrest, some DEA agents finally opened the door and turned on the lights. According to Chong, the befuddled agents asked, “Who are you? Where’d you come from?” Chong, who had lost 15 pounds during his ordeal, was released and spent five days in the hospital for dehydration, kidney failure, cramps and a perforated esophagus. No charges were ever filed against Chong.
This correspondent was able to interview some of the leading characters in this story. I asked Chong to tell me the circumstances under which he got busted.
Chong: “On April 20, I went to a friend’s place to get high. It was because that was the time college students all over the country hold their annual countercultural ritual. There were nine of us popping pills and smoking weed. We all finally zonked out. I woke up when a bunch of DEA stormtroopers came charging in and busted us.”
I interviewed one of the arresting agents. He talked to me on the condition I not identify him because he was not authorized to release any information.
DEA agent: “A reliable confidential informant had advised us that a bunch of college students were holding a drug party at the location in celebration of the annual countercultural ritual. When we entered the place on the morning of April 21, we found nine people there and seized 18,000 ecstasy pills, other drugs and some weapons. That’s all I am going to tell you.”
I asked Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart and Attorney General Eric Holder for some comments on this incident.
Napolitano: “Shit, on top of those Secret Service prostitution scandals in Columbia, El Salvador and God knows where else, now I’ve got to deal with this damn mess. Well, you know, nobody is perfect. Since we are facing litigation, I’ve got no further comments.”
Leonhart: “I have the utmost confidence in our fine agents. They risk their lives on a daily basis protecting our society from the scourge of illicit drugs. They are overworked, underpaid and underappreciated. I hope this unfortunate incident doesn’t sully our reputation. After all, nobody is perfect. This would never have happened if Mr. Chong and his friends had not decided to get stoned on illicit drugs. I cannot say anything else because we are being sued in this case.”
Holder: “The Justice Department will vigorously fight this lawsuit. Let me remind everyone that the plaintiff in this case deliberately and of his own volition decided, along with his friends, to use and possess drugs prohibited by the laws of these United States. Thank you Mr. Schweinehund.”
I also interviewed Angela Davis, Distinguished Professor Emerita at UC Santa Cruz, and Mary Alice Trueheart, 22, student president of the ‘Legalize Recreational Drugs Club’ at UC San Diego.
Davis: “I’m not surprised. Here we have just one of many examples of how the brutal pig police treat the oppressed and exploited masses in a capitalist society. Back in the ‘60s and ‘70s my friends in the Black Panther Party and the Black Guerrilla Family had the balls to stand up to the pigs. No one is standing up to the pigs nowadays. What happened to Daniel Chong in San Diego would never have been allowed to happen in Cuba and other socialist societies.”
Trueheart: “This is exactly why we want to legalize the use and possession of recreational drugs! I know Daniel personally. He’s a fine young man. We’ve hooked up three or four times. Man, is he ever good in the sack! You say he lost 15 fucking pounds? Oh my gawd, he didn’t have an ounce of fat on him. Man, I hope this doesn’t affect his performance in bed! Those fucking pigs ought to be ashamed of themselves. I hope poor Daniel gets the whole 20 million. More would be even better. Hey everybody out there, lets legalize recreational drugs!”