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California college student left in DEA cell to get $4 million from U.S.

  • This May 1 ,2012, file photo shows Daniel Chong at a news conference where he discussed his detention by the DEA in San Diego. (AP Photo/U-T San Diego, K.C. Alfred)

SAN DIEGO — An attorney for the man who was abandoned in a Drug Enforcement Administration holding cell for four days without food or water says his client has agreed to settle claims for $4.1 million.

Daniel Chong's attorney, Eugene Iredale, said Tuesday that no one has yet been disciplined for the April 2012 incident and no criminal charges will be filed.

Iredale says the Justice Department's inspector general is investigating what caused Chong's near-death experience, but that he still has no answers.

Chong's attorneys say the DEA had no policy on the treatment of detainees at the time. It does now, and that policy includes cameras in cells and daily inspections.

Chong says he drank his own urine to stay alive and tried to write a farewell message to his mother with his own blood.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

The Justice Department will pay $4.1 million to a California college student left in a Drug Enforcement Administration holding cell for four days without food or water last year, two people familiar with the case told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Daniel Chong, 23, was detained in an April 2012 drug raid in San Diego and left in the 5-by-10-foot windowless holding cell. He said he drank his own urine to stay alive and tried to write a farewell message to his mother with his own blood.

The people familiar with the case spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the settlement before it was announced Tuesday morning at a news conference.

Chong, who was an engineering student at University of California, San Diego, was at a friend's house in April 2012 when a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration raid netted 18,000 ecstasy pills, other drugs and weapons. Chong and eight others were taken into custody.

Agents told Chong he would not be charged and had him wait in the cell at DEA offices in San Diego. The door did not reopen for four days, when agents found him severely dehydrated and covered in his own feces.

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