A navy engineer and his wife were ordered to be arrested Tuesday on charges of attempting to sell classified information to a foreign country for nuclear-powered submarines as part of an extended espionage operation infiltrated by the FBI.
Jonathan Tobey, 42, formerly assigned to the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, and Diana Tobey, 45, served as a glance at the secret drops of data cards hidden in a peanut butter sandwich and chewing gum wrapper Said to have qualified.
The Maryland couple, who wore orange prison scrubs, said little during a brief hearing that the judge scheduled Friday detention hearings.
Federal prosecutors are trying to keep the two suspects pending trial, citing potential flight risks.
If convicted of violating the Atomic Energy Act, he will be jailed. They have been charged with conspiracy to communicate restricted data and to communicate restricted data.
For more than a year, according to federal prosecutors, Tobey attempted to exchange data for $ 100,000 in cryptocurrency payments, first approaching the foreign government in April 2020.
The country’s identity was not disclosed, but soon the engineer began correspondence with an undercover FBI agent believed to be a representative of the foreign government.
Tobey, according to court documents, handled the correspondence “for several months,” leading to a deal to sell confidential data in a planned exchange series.
More than two weeks after receiving a $ 10,000 cryptocurrency payment at the beginning of June, the couple traveled to West Virginia – serving as Diana Tobey’s lookout – with Jonathan Tobey hiding a data memory card in a pre-arranged “dead drop” place with a half-peanut butter sandwich.
It is alleged that the agent pursued another $ 20,000 payment and provided the engineer with a decryption key to access the data card. The second drop of data hidden in the gum blanket was paid $ 70,000 at a Virginia location in August.
FBI agents arrested the couple last week after they placed a third data card containing confidential submarine design information at another West Virginia location.