A train engineer faces federal charges after he allegedly admitted to intentionally derailing a train Tuesday near the USNS Mercy, a ship sent to Los Angeles to ease the burden of hospitals treating coronavirus patients, according to the Department of Justice.
Eduardo Moreno, 44, told law enforcement investigators he was "suspicious" of the ship and believed it "had an alternate purpose related to COVID-19 or a government takeover," the Justice Department said in a news release, citing the affidavit.
Moreno has been charged with one count of train wrecking, the Justice Department said. The federal public defenders office in Los Angeles, which is representing Moreno, declined to comment on the case.
According to the Justice Department, Moreno, a train engineer at the Port of Los Angeles, crashed the train at the end of the tracks, running through barriers before it came to a rest more than 250 yards away from the ship. No one was injured, the news release said, and the ship was not damaged.
The crash was witnessed by a California Highway Patrol officer, who took Moreno into custody as he tried to flee the scene, the news release added.