Couple pleads guilty in Los Alamos nuclear secrets case

A husband and wife who worked as contractors at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico have pleaded guilty after being accused of trying to leak U.S. nuclear secrets.

Pedro Mascheroni, 77, and Marjorie Roxby Mascheroni, 70, entered guilty pleas yesterday to violations of the Atomic Energy Act in federal court in Albuquerque, according to a statement from Kenneth Gonzalez, the U.S. attorney for New Mexico. Pedro Mascheroni faces as long as five-and-a-half years in prison and his wife as long as two years, according to the statement.

The couple admitted that they provided classified nuclear information to an undercover U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation agent who they thought worked for the Venezuelan government. The U.S. didn’t accuse Venezuela of any wrongdoing, according to the statement.

Erlinda Johnson, a lawyer for Roxby Mascheroni, declined to comment on the plea. Robert Cooper, a lawyer for Mascheroni didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail after regular business hours seeking comment.

The case is U.S. v. Mascheroni, 10-2626, U.S. District Court, District of New Mexico (Albuquerque).