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A former Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist and his wife were indicted Friday on charges of providing classified nuclear weapons information to a Venezuelan government official.
The pair, Pedro Leonardo Mascheroni, 75, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Argentina, and Marjorie Roxby Mascheroni, 67, a U.S. citizen was also charged with conspiring to participate in the development of an atomic weapon for Venezuela.
The 22-count indictment was returned by a federal grand jury in the District of New Mexico.
The couple was arrested by FBI agents and made their initial appearance in federal court in Albuquerque.
If convicted of all the charges, the defendants face a
potential sentence of life in prison.
The indictment does not allege that the government of Venezuela or anyone acting on its behalf sought or was passed any classified information, nor does it charge any Venezuelan government officials or anyone acting on their behalf with wrongdoing.
The indictment also does not charge individuals working at LANL with wrongdoing, according to a press release from the Department of Justice.