NewsLocal News


Annapolis couple remains in federal custody accused of espionage

Posted at 9:29 AM, Oct 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-13 09:29:38-04

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — An Annapolis married couple remains in federal custody after appearing before a federal judge on Tuesday.

Jonathan Toebbe, 42, and his 45-year-old wife, Diana Toebbe, are charged with conspiracy to communicate restricted data and communication of restricted data. If convicted, the couple face up to life in prison on each charge.

They're accused of trying to sell restricted information about the highly-sophisticated design of the Virginia class nuclear powered submarine, worth $3 billion, to an unnamed foreign government.

"It's some of the most closely-held technology and the deepest secrets the US government has," said Col. Stephen Ganyard, Retired USMC, Former Fighter Pilot and Department Assistant Secretary of the State.

Investigators say Jonathan hid secret data files in a peanut butter sandwich, a band-aid wrapper and a pack of chewing gum. Then, dropped them at prearranged locations in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Virginia, while Diana was the lookout. After a year long investigation, the couple was arrested over the weekend in West Virginia.

The Toebbe's Annapolis neighbor said they were disturbed by the allegations. Patty Bannat said,"I was shocked. Very shocked. Disappointed that someone would betray the country. Very disappointed."

Tuesday, they appeared before a federal judge for the first time. The judge asked some basic questions, gave them a court appointed lawyers and a federal prosecutor filed a motion to keep the couple in jail. The prosecutor argued the couple is a flight risk since the FBI stated they had passports and an escape plan ready to go.

On Friday, the couple has another hearing where a judge will determine if the couple can post bond or must remain in jail until their trial.

Investigators say Jonathan was able to gain access to this classified information as a nuclear engineer for the Navy. Diana was a teacher at the Key School in Annapolis, working in the humanities department for ten years. She's now been put on indefinite suspension.

WMAR-2 News also learned the couple has two children but no additional information about them has been released.