DEA Agents Walk Away from Serious Transgressions without Adequate Punishments

Yet another unconscionable act by DEA agents while under the supervision of Michele Leonhart has been brought to the attention of the Department of Justice. In 2012, the DEA raided the home of Daniel Chong’s friend while he was there visiting and smoking marijuana. Igor Cornelsen ( has read that the 23-year old University of California, San Diego engineering student was seized during the incursion and taken to a holding facility where he was told he would be questioned then released.

Unfortunately, sloppy mismanagement of the DEA’s incarceration procedures left Chong isolated in a dark, windowless holding cell for five days with no food or water, all the while, his hands were cuffed behind his back. Although Chong cried out for help before succumbing to dehydration, he was not discovered for five long days. Chong was in poor condition when eventually found, suffering from delirium and critical breathing and respiratory difficulties. The experience had him hospitalized for four more days and left him with a serious case of post-traumatic stress disorder.

While the actions of the three DEA agents in charge of Chong were reprehensible and a $4.1 million settlement was paid out as a result, those agents skated away with a mere slap on the wrist. Simple reprimands were issued, one agent was place on an unpaid five day suspension and the agent in charge was given only a seven day suspension. The DOJ has since stepped in to make improvements to the DEA’s disciplinary practices and Leonhart has stepped down from her position. Good riddance.

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