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Couple in submarine spy case to remain held; hearing set

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These booking photos released Oct. 9, 2021, by the West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority show Jonathan Toebbe and his wife, Diana Toebbe. Federal prosecutors accused the Maryland couple in a plot to sell sensitive U.S. submarine secrets to a foreign government. A West Virginia judge granted a detention request from prosecutors Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021, meaning the couple will remain behind bars for now (West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority via AP)

WASHINGTON – 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.