Naval nuclear engineer, wife arrested on espionage charges taught in Denver

A Naval nuclear engineer and his wife who were arrested Saturday on federal espionage charges worked as teachers in the Denver area in the mid-2000s.

Jonathan Toebbe taught at Kent Denver between 2005 and 2008, and his wife, Diana Toebbe, taught at the school from 2005 to 2012, according to an email from Lisa Mortell, a school spokeswoman. Jonathan Toebbe’s profile on LinkedIn, a professional networking website, said he taught physics at the school. Mortell declined to say what subjects Diana Toebbe taught.

Jonathan Toebbe also earned a master’s degree in nuclear engineering at Colorado School of Mines, which he attended between 2008 and 2012, according to his LinkedIn profile, which was confirmed by the college.

Jonathan Toebbe, 42, is accused of selling restricted data about the design of nuclear-powered warships to an FBI agent, whom he believed was a representative of a foreign power. Diana Toebbe, 45, is accused of aiding her husband in the illegal transaction, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Jonathan Toebbe worked as a nuclear engineer at the U.S. Department of the Navy’s Nuclear Propulsion Program. He held an active national security clearance through the U.S. Department of Defense, giving him access to classified information about naval nuclear propulsion and military design elements, the news release said.

He was discharged from active duty in the Navy in September 2017, according to an arrest document filed in U.S. District Court Northern District of West Virginia.

Diana Toebbe taught humanities in the Upper School at the Key School in Annapolis, where she worked for 10 years, the Baltimore Sun reported.

The Toebbes are alleged to have traveled to secret “dead drop” locations in parks and at historical sites where they left SC cards with classified information about submarine nuclear reactors in exchange for payments in cryptocurrencies. Jonathan Toebbe hid SD cards in Band-Aid wrappers, peanut butter sandwiches and packs of chewing gum, according to the federal complaint.

The couple is accused of accepting cryptocurrency payments after a drop-off.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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