Walter Mencken 4 p.m., May 3
DEA Apologizes to Daniel Chong
Federal Agents Say Methamphetamine Left in Cell With Stranded San Diego Student Was Supposed to Have Been Heroin
"We were trying to ease him out gently, you know?"
TRYING TO REMEMBER WHAT THE SUN LOOKS LIKE, KEARNY MESA DEA OFFICES - Daniel Chong, the UCSD student who was "accidentally" left in a DEA holding cell for five days without food or water, has received a formal apology from the organization's director, Larry Park. "On behalf of the entire United States government and the Drug Enforcement Agency in particular, I would like to extend my sincere apologies to Mr. Chong," said Park at a televised press conference. "No man, not even some punk swept up in a drug raid, should have to endure what he endured until after he is convicted in a court of law. After an internal investigation, we have determined that the methamphetamine left in Chong's cell - which Chong eventually ingested - was supposed to have been heroin." The narcotic, said Park, was intended to help Chong make a relatively painless exit from this life.
"Of course we kept him in total darkness for two days and nights," continued Park. "Sensory deprivation, combined with the narcotic effect of industrial grade heroin, is a clinically-proven, field-tested method for removing a man's will to live. But somebody down in the lab goofed and put meth in there with him instead of heroin, and there's nothing like tweaking on an empty stomach to make a person just keep going, on and on and on. It's inexcusable, really. We're the Drug Enforcement Agency. We're not supposed to make mistakes about which drug is which."
Park stressed that the mistake, though grievous, did have an upside. "Being on meth probably made it a lot easier for Chong to drink his own pee, which proved to be a life-saving move. Trust me, I've seen meth-heads do a lot worse without batting an eye."
As of press time, the DEA had yet to offer any explanation for why they wanted Chong dead, or any sort of compensation for his ordeal. But ABC has reportedly expressed interest in a prison-based reality game show based on Chong's experience, and there are rumors about Chong collaborating in some distasteful fashion with noted pee-drinker and Man vs Wild star Bear Grylls.
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