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Crime and Courts

Former Denver high school teachers accused in submarine espionage case are federally indicted

The New York Times reports Jonathan and Diana Toebbes' lost their Denver-area home in 2010 in the wake of the Great Recession

WASHINGTON — A Maryland 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 Diana Toebbe, who taught at Kent Denver School, are each charged with one count of conspiracy to communicate restricted data and two counts of communication of restricted data.

These booking photos released Oct. 9, 2021, by the West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority show Jonathan Toebbe and his wife, Diana Toebbe. Federal prosecutors accused the Maryland couple in a plot to sell sensitive U.S. submarine secrets to a foreign government. A West Virginia judge granted a detention request from prosecutors Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021, meaning the couple will remain behind bars for now (West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority via 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 is 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.

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

Jonathan Toebbe worked at Kent Denver School in Cherry Hills Village from 2005 until 2008. Diana taught there from 2005 until 2012.

The New York Times reports the Toebbes’ lost their Denver-area home in 2010 in the wake of the Great Recession. A friend told the newspaper he started working on nuclear submarine propulsion and abandoned his doctoral studies based on the need to make more money quickly.

Colorado Sun staff writer Jesse Paul contributed to this report.

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