The son of a Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent, Boyce worked for TRW in California between
July 1974 and December 1976 and had access to highly classified satellite manuals. He stole dozens of secret documents, removed from a communications bunker, and handed them to his friend, Daulton Lee, who was a drug addict and acted as an intermediary with the KGB in Mexico. It was while Lee was attempting to reestablish contact with the KGB at the Soviet embassy in Mexico City in January 1977 that he was arrested by the local police and discovered to be in possession of classified data. The FBI promptly arrested his accomplice, and Boyce admitted having compromised the Rhyolite and Argus satellite systems. In April 1977 Boyce was convicted of espionage and sentenced to 40 years’ imprisonment, but he escaped in January 1980 and remained a fugitive until August the following year. In April 1982 he received a further 20 years for 16 bank robberies that occurred while he had been on the run. In May 1977 Lee was sentenced to life imprisonment, having been convicted on eight counts of espionage.