College Student Drinks Own Urine to Survive After DEA Forgets He Was in Cell

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

A college student was left in a small holding cell by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for five days without food, water, or a toilet. He believes that the DEA forgot about him. He was taken by agents during a late April 2012 drug raid on his friend’s house in which nine people were arrested.

Student Drinks Own Urine to Survive After Being Abandoned by the DEA.

According to a law enforcement official who has reviewed this case, the student was never arrested, was not going to be charged with a crime and should have been released.

Instead, he was left handcuffed and placed back in a 5-by-10-foot cell, where he remained for several days with no food or water. The student says that he yelled and tried shoving his clothes under the door so that someone would realize that he was there. Eventually, he said he had to drink his own urine after being without water. He suffered from dehydration and allegedly began to hallucinate.

DEA Accidentally Left Methamphetamine Student’s Holding Cell.

The abandoned student reportedly stated that he broke his own glasses and began carving “Sorry Mom” into his arm but stopped after the “S.” Additionally, he ingested a white powder DEA agents said was accidentally left in the cell and was later identified as methamphetamine.

Numerous media accounts of this event have been published including by the Associated Press and Delaware Online.

When he was eventually found, paramedics took him to a hospital. He spent three days in intensive care and five days total at the hospital before leaving.

DEA Apologizes to the Student.

The DEA has acknowledged that the student was accidentally left in the cell and has issued an apology. The agency is investigating how this incident happened.

Student Now Seeking Up to $20 Million in Compensation.

The student’s attorney has sent a five page demand letter to the DEA’s general counsel in Washington D.C., which calls the student’s treatment “torture.” The letter also requests that all federal agencies preserve any evidence related to the case, including video, interview notes and written reports.

The student is seeking up to $20 million in compensation for the incident.

Perseverance of Engineering Students.

I believe this incident, which is horrendous and never should have happened illustrates the perseverance of engineering students. Not to make light of the situation, Survivorman could not have done better. One wonders how such an event could happen in our country.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Handling DEA Cases.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm are experienced in handling DEA cases. If you are currently being investigated or facing other adverse action by the DEA contact one of our attorneys by calling (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001. You can also visit our website for more information at http://www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources Include:

Associated Press. “Calif. Man Forgotten in Cell Says He Drank Urine.” Delaware Online. (May 2, 2012). From http://www.delawareonline.com/viewart/20120502/NEWS01/120502037/Calif-man-forgotten-cell-says-he-drank-urine

Caldwell, Alicia. “DEA Apologizes to College Student Left in Cell.” Delaware Online. (May 2, 2012). From http://www.delawareonline.com/viewart/20120502/NEWS01/120502047/DEA-apologizes-college-student-left-cell

Gastaldo, Evann. “Student Forgotten in DEA Cell Wants $20M.” Newser. (May 3, 2012). From http://www.newser.com/story/145323/student-forgotten-in-dea-cell-wants-20m.html

McDonald, Jeff. “Abandoned DEA detainee seeks $20 million.” UT San Diego. (May 2, 2012). From http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/may/02/abandoned-dea-detainee-seeks-20-million/

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

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