College Student Abandoned In DEA Cell Awarded $4.1 Million

College Student Abandoned In DEA Cell Awarded $4.1 Million

He's the college student who went through hell. Now, 25-year-old Daniel Chong has reached a $4.1 million settlement with the federal government after he was locked in a tiny cell in a DEA building near San Diego and completely forgotten about for four-and-a-half days.

INSIDE EDITION’s Diane McInerney asked Chong, “How did you survive?”

He said, “I drank my own urine. I knew I needed some kind of fluid.  I've seen survival shows on TV and I knew I had to do it.”

Watch more of our interview.

The University of California, San Diego senior was swept up in a 2012 drug raid at a friend's house that he just happened to be visiting. He was placed in a holding cell and told he'd be released in a matter of hours.  

He said, “They were going to give me a ride home. One person was going to take me home.”

But once the door slammed shut he didn't see a living soul for over four excruciating days.

Chong says he was held in a cell just 5 feet by 10. He said there was no toilet and no window. Then, two days into his ordeal, it got even worse when the lights went out. 

He became so despondent he even considered suicide by breaking his glasses and cutting "Sorry Mom" on his arm.

He said, “What I tried to carve was 'Sorry Mom,' but by that time it was pitch black, my attention span was absolutely short so by the time I finished the 'S,' I completely gave up on it." 

After four-and-a-half days, a DEA agent happened to open the door and was shocked to discover Chong, who was rushed to a hospital and spent three days in intensive care with kidney damage.  Now, the government will pay over $4 million for locking this student away and forgetting him.

His lawyer, Gene Iredale told INSIDE EDITION, "I felt that it was reasonable compensation for the suffering that Daniel underwent."

McInerney asked, “Was it worth it?”

Chong replied, “I'm just grateful I wasn't as damaged as some people might be.”