DEA Leaves Student Nearly DOA


Monday August 12th, 2013   •   Posted by K. Lloyd Billingsley at 9:03am PST   •  

DEA_badge_C_200Last year, the UC San Diego engineering student Daniel Chong was mistakenly swept up in a DEA raid near the UC campus. Chong, 25, had committed no crime and was not charged with anything. But DEA agents stuck the student in a small windowless interrogation room with no food, water, or toilet facilities, and left him there for five days. Chong’s screams for help elicited no response and Chong was so convinced he was going to die he broke his glasses and scratched “Sorry, mom,” on his arm. When finally discovered Daniel Chong was barely breathing and had to be hospitalized for five days.

Chong planned to sue the federal government for $20 million. In July the DEA settled for $4.1 million. Chong is on record that the whole thing was an accident, and that statement was likely part of the deal. William R. Sherman, acting DEA special agent in San Diego, told reporters, “I extend my deepest apologies [to] the young man and want to express that this event is not indicative of the high standards that I hold my employees to.”

It is possible that Chong’s cruel and unusual imprisonment was at least partly a deliberate move on the part of DEA agents miffed that they could not charge the engineering student with anything. Taxpayers of course pick up the tab for the $4.1 million settlement, and for the DEA itself, created through an executive order by president Richard Nixon. As the chart below shows, this agency has grown from a budget of $65 million in the early 1970s to nearly $3 billion today. Once created, federal agencies are practically impossible to shut down, however much money they waste or however much they abuse innocent citizens like Daniel Chong and who knows how many others.

 

DEA Staffing and Appropriations

FY 1972-2013 (All Sources)

Year

Total Employees

Special Agents

Support Staff

Budget

($ in Millions)

2013 11,053 5,250 5,803 $2.771
2012 11,116 5,314 5,802 $2,880
2011 11,082 5,356 5,726 $2,815
2010 10,905 5,293 5,615 $2,796
2009 10,784 5,233 5,551 $2,624
2008 10,774 5,223 5,551 $2,494
2007 10,759 5,235 5,524 $2,346
2006 10,891 5,320 5,571 $2,285
2005 10,893 5,296 5,597 $2,142
2004 10,564 5,194 5,370 $2,039
2003 9,725 4,841 4,884 $1,892
2002 9,388 4,625 4,763 $1,794
2001 9,209 4,601 4,608 $1,697
2000 9,141 4,566 4,575 $1,587
1999 9,046 4,527 4,519 $1,477
1998 8,452 4,214 4,238 $1,384
1997 7,872 3,969 3,903 $1,238
1996 7,369 3,708 3,661 $1,050
1995 7,389 3,889 3,500 $1,001
1994 7,049 3,611 3,438 $970
1993 7,266 3,518 3,748 $921
1992 7,264 3,696 3,568 $910
1991 7,096 3,615 3,481 $875
1990 6,274 3,191 3,083 $654
1989 5,926 2,969 2,957 $598
1988 5,740 2,899 2,841 $523
1987 5,710 2,879 2,831 $774
1986 4,925 2,440 2,485 $394
1985 4,936 2,234 2,702 $362
1984 4,093 1,963 2,130 $327
1983 4,013 1,896 2,117 $284
1982 4,013 1,896 2,117 $244
1981 4,167 1,964 2,203 $220
1980 4,149 1,941 2,208 $207
1979 4,288 1,984 2,304 $200
1978 4,440 2,054 2,386 $192
1977 4,439 2,141 2,298 $173
1976 4,337 2,141 2,196 $161
1975 4,286 2,135 2,151 $141
1974 4,075 2,231 1,844 $116
1973 2,898 1,470 1,428 $75
1972 2,775 1,470 1,305 $65

 

 

 

 

 




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