US nuclear engineer Jonathan Toebbe and his wife Diana were arrested on espionage-related charges on Saturday, announced the US Department of Justice.
The couple, who was apprehended by the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, stands accused of selling restricted data regarding the design of nuclear-powered warships.
The Toebbes will appear in a West Virginia federal court tomorrow, after being charged with violations of the Atomic Energy Act. The act was established in 1946 to promote the “utilisation of atomic energy for peaceful purposes to the maximum extent consistent with the common defence and security and with the health and safety of the public.”
According to prosecutors, Jonathan Toebbe – who was working in the Department of the Navy’s naval nuclear propulsion programme – corresponded for several months with a person he believed to be a representative of a foreign government. The individual was actually an undercover FBI agent.
Toebbe and his wife had already sold restricted data regarding submarine nuclear reactors for a total of $100,000 in cryptocurrency when they were arrested during a “dead drop”.