MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A former Navy nuclear engineer and his wife, who were accused of trying to sell military secrets using a peanut butter sandwich, found out how long they will spend in prison Wednesday.

A judge sentenced Jonathan Toebbe, 44, of Annapolis to 19 years and 4 months. He also ordered Toebbe to pay a fine of $47,500.

His wife, Diana Toebbe, 46, received a longer sentence: 21 years and 10 months. The judge ordered her to pay $50,000.

Federal investigators said the Toebbes tried to sell restricted data related to the design of of nuclear-powered Navy ships.

Both pleaded guilty to the conspiracy in February 2022.

Jonathan and Diana Toebbe

Investigators said they arrested Toebbe on Oct. 9, 2021, after he put an SD card at a pre-arranged “dead drop” in West Virginia. At the time of his arrest, Toebbe was assigned to the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, also known as Naval Reactors. He had an active national security clearance through the Department of Defense, which gave him access to “restricted data” which has to do with design, manufacture or use of atomic weapons, or production of Special Nuclear Material (SNM), or use of SNM in the production of energy. Toebbe worked with and had access to information concerning naval nuclear propulsion including information related to military sensitive design elements, operating parameters and performance characteristics of the reactors for nuclear powered warships.

Diana Toebbe was arrested the same day. Investigators said she helped her husband to communicate restricted data to a foreign nation and that she served as a lookout while her husband serviced three “dead-drops.”

In August 2022, the court rejected plea agreements into which the prosecution entered with the Toebbes. At that time, Judge Gina Groh said, in part, “You compromised national defense, threatened critical military advantages, and years of research and development. You put the lives of 25,000 nuclear submarine sailors at risk, betrayed the trust that our Navy and nation placed in you. You did not act in the best interest of the United States.”

“If not for the remarkable efforts of FBI agents, the sensitive data stolen by Mr. Toebbe could have ended up in the hands of an adversary of the United States and put the safety of our military and our nation at risk,” said U.S. William Attorney Ihlenfeld in a news release, issued the day of the sentencing. “The FBI keeps American citizens safe from enemies both foreign and domestic and this case is an excellent reminder of their important work.”