Chong said he even put his shoelaces under the door hoping someone would see him and realize he was there.
When he was finally discovered about 100 hours later, he said five or six people crowded around him, "wondering who I am."
Iredale said Chong has undergone intensive psychotherapy and been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
What happened to Chong, Iredale said, "should never happen to any human being on the face of the planet."
Days after he was found, a top DEA official apologized to Chong and ordered an "extensive review" of DEA procedures. That review has not yet been completed.
"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," said William R. Sherman, who was then acting special agent in charge of the DEA's San Diego Division.
No charges were filed against Chong. Iredale filed a claim with the agency, usually the first step toward a lawsuit. But in this case, officials immediately began negotiating a settlement and listened to a local psychologist who said that Chong was in worse shape than many combat veterans he has treated, Iredale said.