Former San Pedro train engineer Eduardo Moreno sentenced to 3 years in prison for intentionally derailing a locomotive near a US Navy hospital ship
(STL.News) A former Port of Los Angeles train engineer was sentenced today to 36 months in federal prison for intentionally running a locomotive at full speed at the end of a train track near a ship- US Navy hospital that was deployed to provide medical relief during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eduardo Moreno46, of San Pedro, was convicted by U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez, who also ordered him to pay $755,880 in restitution.
Moreno pleaded guilty in December 2021 to one count of committing a terrorist attack and other violence against rail carriers and mass transit systems.
On March 31, 2020, Moreno drove a high-speed train, failed to slow down near the end of the tracks, and intentionally derailed the train off the tracks near the then docked U.S. Naval Ship Mercy – a hospital ship in the Port of Los Angeles.
No one was injured in the incident and the Mercy was not injured or damaged. The incident resulted in a significant leak from the train – approximately 2,000 gallons – of diesel fuel, which required personnel to clean up the fire and other hazardous materials. Cleanup crews recovered about 400 gallons of fuel from the fuel tank and ground adjacent to the derailment, according to court documents.
Moreno caused $755,880 in damage from the derailment.
In his first interview with the Port of Los Angeles Police, Moreno acknowledged he “did it,” saying he was suspicious of the Mercy and believed he had another purpose related to COVID-19 or a government takeover, according to an affidavit filed with a criminal complaint in the case.
Moreno said he acted alone and did not plan the attempted attack. While admitting to intentionally derailing and crashing the train, he said he knew it would attract media attention and “people could see for themselves”, referring to the Mercy, according to the affidavit.
In a second interview with FBI agents, Moreno said “he did it out of a desire to ‘wake people up,'” the affidavit states. “Moreno said he thought the Mercy was suspicious and that he didn’t believe ‘the ship is what they say it’s meant for’.”
“[Moreno’s] the offense was extraordinarily serious, and he used his unique access as a licensed train driver to derail a multi-tonne train to a government hospital ship whose purpose was to treat vulnerable patients in the midst of a pandemic world,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum.
The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and Port of Los Angeles Police investigated the case.
Assistant United States Attorneys Reema M. El-Amamy and Christine M. Ro of the Terrorism and Export Crimes Section, as well as General Counsel Taryn Meeks of the Section’s Counterterrorism Section National Security Department of the Justice Department prosecuted the case.
THE SOURCE: USDOJ.Today