Couple in submarine spy case to remain held; hearing set

Politics

FILE – In this Friday, July 30, 2004 file photo, the U.S.S. Virginia returns to the Electric Boat Shipyard in Groton Conn., after its first sea trials. A Navy nuclear engineer with access to military secrets has been charged with trying to pass information about the design of American nuclear-powered submarines to someone he thought was a representative of a foreign government but who turned out to be an undercover FBI agent, the Justice Department said Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Jack Sauer, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Maryland couple charged in a plot to sell sensitive U.S. submarine secrets to a foreign government will remain behind bars for now, a judge said Tuesday in granting a detention request from prosecutors.

Jonathan and Diana Toebbe each made brief appearances in federal court in Martinsburg, West Virginia. Magistrate Judge Robert Trumble ordered them to remain detained pending a detention hearing on Friday at which more extensive arguments are expected to be made.

The couple answered perfunctory questions from a judge, but no substantive information about the case was revealed.

The Toebbes were arrested in West Virginia over the weekend. Jonathan Toebbe, a Navy nuclear engineer, is accused of passing information about American submarines to someone he thought was a representative of a foreign government but who was actually an undercover FBI agent.

The authorities say Diana Toebbe sometimes accompanied her husband to pre-arranged “dead drop” locations, including serving as a lookout.

The judge said Tuesday that each could face life in prison if convicted.

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