Daniel Chong, the UC San Diego student who was left in a Drug Enforcement Agency holding cell for nearly five days, said the time spent in his cell was a life-altering experience. NBC 7's Tony Shin reports.“I had to do what I had to do to,Chong told NBC 7 after the incident“It’s so inconceivable. You keep doubting they would forget you,” he said.
More than a year later the DEA that put him there is paying the price.
Defense attorney Gretchen von Helms, who is not representing Chong, estimates the settlement could be in the $2-3 million range.
“You break it down into the pain and suffering and how horrible this could have been for the family. They didn't know where he was, all the anguish the family went through and the young man went through,” Von Helms said.
Eventually Chong was discovered and the DEA issued a formal apology.
If turnabout is fair play in the court of public opinion it won't happen in this case.
Whether it is a complaint against the state or federal government, Von Helms says attorneys are required to first attempt a settlement before filing a lawsuit to hold down costs to taxpayers which is how this didn’t end up in court.“It wouldn' be fair to take those individual agents and put them in custody or hurt them in some fashion because of this error the appropriate punishment is financial,” von Helms said.
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