Couple accused of ‘trying to flog military secrets using peanut butter sandwich’

A husband and wife have been arrested accused of selling military secrets to a foreign power using a peanut butter sandwich, it has been reported.

Jonathan and Diane Toebbe were arrested in Jefferson County, West Virginia, according to the Department of Justice.

They were allegedly attempting to sell information about the design of nuclear reactors on American submarines to someone they thought was an agent of another country.

But the would-be buyer was actually an undercover FBI agent, Politico reports.

Jonathan, 42, is reportedly a nuclear engineer employed by the US Navy.

He and his wife, 45, are said to have first sent information in April to an unspecified country, offering "a sample of restricted data and instructions for establishing a covert relationship".

Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a Department of Justice statement: "The complaint charges a plot to transmit information relating to the design of our nuclear submarines to a foreign nation.

"The affidavit also alleged that, thereafter, Toebbe began corresponding via encrypted email with an individual whom he believed to be a representative of the foreign government.

“The individual was really an undercover FBI agent."

The Justice Department claims that Jonathan Toebbe concealed an SD card with sensitive information on it in a peanut butter sandwich.

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He is said to have left it at a pre-arranged 'dead drop' location while his wife acted as lookout.

Toebbe allegedly struck an agreement to sell restricted data in exchange for thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency.

According to the DOJ, the Toebbes received $100,000 (£73,355) in cryptocurrency — starting with a payment of $10,000 (£7,335) and ending with one of $70,000 (£51,348).

The Toebbe's are due to appear in court in Martinsburg, West Virginia, on Tuesday.

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