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Nuclear Engineer Arrested After Undercover FBI Agent Paid Huge Crypto For Secret Info

This story seems to come straight out of a spy movie. An American nuclear engineer and his wife were arrested this weekend on suspicion of espionage. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced that on Oct. 10:

The couple, Jonathan Toebbe (42) and Diana Toebbe (45) of West Virginia, sold classified documents about nuclear submarines to an individual. The couple thought this person was a representative from another country, but it turned out to be an undercover FBI agent.

The FBI tracked down Toebbe in December 2020 after he sent a package in April 2020 with sample data and instructions on how to contact him secretly.

“My apologies for this bad translation in your language. Please forward this letter to your military intelligence. I believe this information will be of great value to your country. This is not a hoax.”

$100,000 in monero (XMR)

It is unknown which country the couple thought it was. In June 2021, the FBI agent sent $10,000 worth of cryptocurrency to the suspect “as a sign of good faith and trust.” The cryptocurrency used is monero (XMR), a so-called privacy coin.

Toebbe had special powers and access to secure documents through the US Department of Defense. These are classified documents about nuclear submarines and nuclear-powered warships.

The secret information was sent through a so-called dead drop, or dead letterbox, passed on. That is a method of espionage in which information is passed on through the use of a secret location without meeting directly. The couple had stored the classified information on an SD card hidden in a peanut butter sandwich

The undercover FBI agent then paid $20,000 in monero to access the SD card. Toebbe later performed another dead drop with more classified information. This time, the FBI agent even paid $70,000 in monero for it.

The couple was subsequently detained on Saturday, October 9, by the FBI in conjunction with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). The couple will appear in court tomorrow, October 12.

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