US: Couple accused in submarine espionage case indicted

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These booking photos released Oct. 9, 2021, by the West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority show Jonathan Toebbe and his wife, Diana Toebbe. Federal prosecutors accused the Maryland couple in a plot to sell sensitive U.S. submarine secrets to a foreign government. A West Virginia judge granted a detention request from prosecutors Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021, meaning the couple will remain behind bars for now (West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Maryland couple arrested earlier this month on charges of trying to sell information about nuclear-powered warships to a foreign country have been indicted, the Justice Department said Tuesday.

Federal prosecutors say Jonathan and Diana Toebbe are each charged with one count of conspiracy to communicate restricted data and two counts of communication of restricted data.

They were arrested in West Virginia on Oct. 9 and charged in a criminal complaint with violations of the Atomic Energy Act. The couple is due in federal court Wednesday for a detention hearing.

Jonathan Toebbe, a Navy nuclear engineer, is accused of trying to pass information about the design of submarines to someone he thought was a representative of a foreign government but who was actually an undercover FBI agent. Court documents do not reveal the identity of the foreign country he is accused of trying to sell the information to.

Prosecutors say Diana Toebbe accompanied her husband on several instances to pre-arranged “dead-drop” locations at which he left behind memory cards containing the sensitive information.

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This story has been corrected to fix the spelling of a suspect’s first name. It is Diana Toebbe, not Diane.

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