A United States Navy nuclear engineer and his wife have been charged with selling secret information about nuclear submarines to an undercover FBI agent who was posing as an authority figure for a foreign country, the Justice Department confirmed on Sunday.
US Nuclear engineer, Johnathan Toebbe along with his wife, Diana, were arrested in West Virginia on Saturday and charged with violating the Atomic Energy Act, the Justice Department confirmed in a statement. They are due to appear in a federal court in West Virginia court on Tuesday.
Johnathan Toebbe, 42, a Navy nuclear engineer who holds a top secret security, sent a package of secret data to an unconfirmed country in 2020 and later went on to start selling secrets for tens of thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency to an undercover FBI agent who was posing as a foreign official.
Toebbe hid a digital memory card containing secret information about nuclear reactors on US submarines in a peanut butter sandwich and left it at a "dead drop" location in West Virginia, his wife acted as the lookout during the drop off.
According to a federal court affidavit, the memory card contained "militarily sensitive design elements, operating parameters and performance characteristics of Virginia-class submarine reactors,"
The Justice Department said that a further memory card was also concealed within a chewing gum package.
Johnathan Toebbe is said to have received payments totalling $100,000 in cryptocurrency, according to the Justice Department.
Authorities have said that Jonathan Toebbe and his wife Diana, from Annapolis, Maryland, were both arrested after they have placed yet another memory card at a separate drop site in West Virginia.
They were both charged with conspiracy and "communication of restricted data," according to a criminal complaint.
No attorney for either Johnathan Toebbe or Diana was listed in either the court documents or the Justice Department statement.
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