The former Navy engineer and his wife who tried to pass nuclear secrets to Brazil and once used a peanut butter sandwich as a dead drop were each slapped with lengthy prison sentences Wednesday.

In yet another twist in the case, Diana Toebbe, 46, was hit with a stiffer sentence than her husband, 44-year-old Jonathan Toebbe.

Judge Gina Groh, of the Northern District of West Virginia, sentenced Diana to more than 21 years in prison while Jonathan was hit with more than 19 years in prison, the Department of Justice said.

Judge Groh imposed the stricter sentence on Diana because she allegedly tried to obstruct justice by sending her husband letters while they were in jail, the New York Times reported.

Although Jonathan was the one with the security clearance and access to the nuclear information, Diana was “driving the bus” of the scheme, the judge noted, according to the report.

Jonathan Toebbe
Jonathan Toebbe received 19 years in prison.
West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority/AP
Diana Toebbe
Diana received a heavier sentence after trying to send letters to her husband while they were in jail, obstructing justice.
West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority/AP

The pair pleaded guilty to conspiracy to communicate restricted data in August, federal officials said.

The Toebbes, of Maryland, contacted officials from Brazil with instructions to get in touch for information about America’s nuclear submarine program, the outlet reported.

Even though Brazil had been trying to develop its own nuclear submarine program, officials from the country alerted American intelligence authorities about the contact.

The Virginia-class attack submarine Pre-Commissioning Unit New Mexico (SSN 779) undergoes Bravo sea trials
The two pleaded guilty to conspiracy to communicate restricted data.

A Homeland Security police officers stand outside of the U.S. District Courthouse
Diana and Jonathan Toebbe have their hearing in the US District Courthouse in Martinsburg, West Virginia, on October 12.

The FBI, using agents pretending to be officials from Brazil, then set up a series of dead drops where the couple turned over confidential information to who they thought were foreign officials.

In one of the drops, they concealed a memory card inside of a peanut butter sandwich, prosecutors said.

“These actions are a betrayal of trust, not only to the U.S. Government, but also to the American people,” Alan E. Kohler Jr., Assistant Director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division, said in a statement Wednesday.



Source link

Author

Comments are closed.