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Nuclear Engineer, Wife Used PA Address To Contact Undercover FBI Agent, Authorities Say

Diana and Jonathan Toebbe
Diana and Jonathan Toebbe Photo Credit: Instagram- Diana Toebbe

Much like a story out of a spy thriller, a Maryland couple was arrested in West Virginia after using a Pennsylvania home address to commit espionage by selling restricted data to an undercover FBI agent.

Jonathan, 42, and Diana Toebbe, 45, of Annapolis, Maryland, were arrested in Jefferson County, West Virginia, and charged with violations of the Atomic Energy Act by the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service on Saturday.

“The complaint charges a plot to transmit information relating to the design of our nuclear submarines to a foreign nation,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “The work of the FBI, Department of Justice prosecutors, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Department of Energy was critical in thwarting the plot charged in the complaint and taking this first step in bringing the perpetrators to justice.”

Jonathan Toebbe sent a package to a foreign government, listing a return address in Pittsburgh, containing a sample of the Restricted Data and instructions to purchase additional secrets, according to the US Department of Justice.

During a sting the FBI provided $100,000 in cryptocurrency for the secrets left in encrypted SD cards, hidden inside of inside a half a peanut butter sandwich or chewing gum packages, at pre-arranged “dead drops” in West Virginia and Virginia,

The couple was discovered by an investigation by the FBI and evidence was obtained by an undercover agent posed as a representative of a foreign country starting in in 2020 and lasting over a year.

The undercover agent purchased information known as “Restricted Data” concerning the design of nuclear-powered warships from Toebbes, who worked as a nuclear engineer at the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program for the last nine years, according to his Linkedin.

Toebbe had access to the restricted data, including information related to sensitive military design elements, operating parameters and performance characteristics of the reactors for nuclear-powered warships.

Diana Toebbe acted as a lookout, according to the FBI.

The Toebbes will have their initial appearances on Tuesday, Oct. 12 in federal court in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

The couple are parents to two children, accoring to Diana Toebbes Facebook. There is no word on who is currently caring for them.

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