Inspector General Faults DEA For Delay In Report Of Student Near-Death


The leadership of the Drug Enforcement Administration is under fire in a report from the Justice Department Inspector General on the near-death of a San Diego college student left in a holding cell for five days in 2012, the Huffington Post reports. The review found that DEA leadership “violated Department of Justice and DEA policy” and delayed a proper investigation into the incident by not reporting it to the inspector general’s office immediately. The report indicates that DEA Deputy Administrator Thomas Harrigan was to discuss the case with Administrator Michele Leonhart in the days after the incident. DEA leadership decided to have a review conducted by a district attorney instead of immediately reporting the incident to the Justice Department inspector general’s office as it should have.

“DEA management’s decision to conduct a management review instead of ensuring that the matter was promptly referred to the OIG was troubling,” the report said. “The decision was made based on an apparent assumption, without any independent factual gathering or assessment, that the conduct which resulted in [student Daniel] Chong’s detention did not amount to misconduct and was not criminal. We believe it should have been readily apparent to the DEA management immediately following Chong’s discovery that jailing an individual without justification for parts of 5 days with no food or water, and that resulted in the individual’s hospitalization, may have been the result of misconduct, at a minimum.”

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