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Justice Department: Annapolis-based Navy nuclear engineer and his wife who are accused in submarine espionage case are indicted

WASHINGTON — An Annapolis 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 Diane Toebbe are each charged with one count of conspiracy to communicate restricted data and two counts of communication of restricted data.

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These booking photos released Oct. 9, 2021, by the West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority show Jonathan Toebbe, right, and his wife, Diana Toebbe. The Annapolis couple have been indicted in a plot to sell sensitive U.S. submarine secrets to a foreign government.
These booking photos released Oct. 9, 2021, by the West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority show Jonathan Toebbe, right, and his wife, Diana Toebbe. The Annapolis couple have been indicted in a plot to sell sensitive U.S. submarine secrets to a foreign government. (AP)

They were arrested in West Virginia on Oct. 9 and charged in a criminal complaint with violations of the Atomic Energy Act. The couple are 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.

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

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