Tragic Student Lockdown a Wake-Up Call for San Diego

After reaching a hallucinatory state by day three, Chong ingested a white powder that he found in his cramped, windowless cell, which turned out to be a methamphetamine. And in an act of desperation, he smashed his eyeglasses, using some shards to carve an apology to his mother on his left arm. The rest of the shards, according to the medical personnel who retrieved him five days later, he swallowed. 

If the federal court system is at all just, Chong will receive a fat amount of cash from the DEA for his ordeal. According to Chong and his lawyer, they are planning on filing a claim with the federal court system this week. Because though the circumstances of his arrest were legal, Chong’s subsequent detention and Abu Ghraib-like situation are certainly not. 

Chong was one of nine people detained on college’s favorite day, 420. The DEA drug bust revealed 18,000 ecstasy pills, weed, shrooms and weapons. And according to Chong, it wasn’t his house, and those drugs weren’t his property. 

All the same, the nine were rounded up and taken to the DEA center in Kearny Mesa for questioning. After Chong was interrogated, the DEA agents told him he was at the wrong place at the wrong time, didn’t press criminal charges and offered to drive him home. Instead, they placed him in a 5-by-10 windowless holding cell. The other eight were questioned, and released, while Chong reached a near-death state, screaming for help and kicking the door in a fruitless attempt to rouse the attention of the agents who were working on the other side of the door.

This case has roused the rage of all decent citizens in San Diego proper and across the country. The case especially hits close to home for UCSD students. An unlucky student, caught in the worst place at the worst time, is suddenly and inexplicably tossed in a near-death experience. 

Five days ago, Chong was preparing for an onslaught of midterms. A week later, he was in the hospital with kidney failure and a punctured lung.

There are many unanswered questions that will likely spout up in the coming weeks when people begin to demand answers. The DEA will have to either answer the questions of how the hell they managed to forget an innocent person in a holding cell for five days, or face the public. 

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