There was a lot going on in March 2020, so maybe I can be forgiven for missing a conspiracy theorist locomotive engineer trying to ram a Naval hospital ship with a whole train at top speed. Former Port of LA employee Eduardo Moreno was sentence to three years in federal prison on Wednesday, and his motivations raise more questions than answers.
Moreno was charged with committing a terrorist attack against railroad carriers and mass transportation systems for ramming a locomotive off its tracks and in the general direction of the U.S.N.S. Mercy — a naval hospital ship. Moreno pleaded guilty last year. We learned this week that, apparently, you only get sentenced to three years for doing a terrorism. It sure seems like it should be more, especially when you consider Moreno’s motivation, according to NBC Los Angeles:
In an interview with FBI agents, Moreno stated that he ran the train off the track out of a desire to “wake people up’’ because the Mercy was “suspicious’’ and not “what they say it’s for,’’ according to documents filed in Los Angeles federal court.
The crash was witnessed by a California Highway Patrol officer, who took Moreno into custody as he fled the scene, federal prosecutors said.
The officer reported seeing “the train smash into a concrete barrier at the end of the track, smash into a steel barrier, smash into a chain-link fence, slide through a parking lot, slide across another lot filled with gravel and smash into a second chain-link fence,’’ according to court papers.
When the CHP officer contacted Moreno, he made a series of spontaneous statements, including, “You only get this chance once. The whole world is watching. I had to. People don’t know what’s going on here. Now they will,’’ according to court filings.
In his first interview with port police, Moreno admitted crashing the train, saying he was suspicious of the Mercy and believed it had an alternate purpose related to COVID-19, such as a “government takeover,’’ prosecutors said.
The hospital ship was in port to help treat non-pandemic patients while land-based hospitals took care of a massive influx of Angelenos sick with COVID-19. As soon as the ship arrived in port, it instantly became the largest hospital in Los Angeles. Could you imagine if Moreno had been successful in damaging the ship? Thankfully the Mercy didn’t end up being needed as much as was feared. After treating only 77 people it left after only two months, USNI News reports.
No one was hurt and the train never even came close to the ship, which you’d think a locomotive engineer would have known. So not only a terrorist who tried to destroy a major health center in one of the largest cities in the U.S. over a conspiracy theory during a pandemic, but not very good at his day job either.