The FBI arrested a US Navy nuclear engineer and his wife Saturday in West Virginia for espionage.
The complaint alleges Jonathan Toebbe and his wife Diana attempted to sell restricted data to a foreign government since April 2020, according to a Department of Justice news release. Instead, the couple were selling the information to an FBI agent.
The #FBI and @RealNCIS recently arrested a nuclear engineer and his wife after they allegedly sold information regarding the design of nuclear submarines to a person they believed represented a foreign power. #NatSec https://t.co/5ft1qDv5Fk
— FBI (@FBI) October 10, 2021
“The complaint charges a plot to transmit information relating to the design of our nuclear submarines to a foreign nation,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in the news release. (RELATED: FBI Director: Chinese Espionage ‘Most Significant’ Spy Threat Facing US)
An undercover FBI agent sent the Toebbes $10,000 as a “good faith” payment June 8 for the classified information intended for the foreign government, according to the news release. Jonathan, with Diana acting as a lookout, allegedly placed an SD memory card into half of a peanut butter sandwich at a prearranged drop location June 26. Toebbe then received $20,000 from the undercover agent for the information.
Another SD card was allegedly placed Aug. 28 in a chewing gun package and left at another prearranged drop location. Toebbe received another $70,000 from the undercover agent for the information on the card.
The Toebbes were arrested Oct. 9 after they placed another SD card at a third prearranged location in West Virginia.