The FBI searched the Pennsylvania wilderness for a cache of gold. A treasure hunter desires to know what it discovered.

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The court-ordered launch of a trove of presidency photographs, movies, maps and different paperwork involving the FBI’s secretive seek for Civil War-era gold has a treasure hunter extra satisfied than ever of a coverup — and simply as decided to show it.

Dennis Parada waged a authorized battle to pressure the FBI to show over data of its excavation in Dents Run, Pennsylvania, the place native lore says an 1863 cargo of Union gold disappeared on its approach to the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia. The FBI, which went to Dents Run after refined testing prompt tons of gold is likely to be buried there, has lengthy insisted the dig got here up empty.

Parada and his advisers, who’ve spent numerous hours poring over the newly launched authorities data, consider in any other case. They accuse the FBI of distorting key proof and improperly withholding data in an obvious effort to hide the restoration of a historic, extraordinarily helpful gold cache. The FBI defends its dealing with of the supplies.

Parada’s dispute with the FBI is taking part in out in federal court docket, the place a choose overseeing the case should determine whether or not the FBI should launch its operational plan for the gold dig and different data it desires to maintain secret. The choose may additionally order the FBI to maintain searching for further supplies to show over to the treasure hunter.

“We feel we were double-crossed and lied to,” Parada mentioned in an interview at his cramped, wood-paneled workplace, the place enormous drill bits and high-end metallic detectors compete for house with rusty miners’ picks, Civil War-era cannon elements and different odds and ends he is dug up through the years.

“The truth will come out,” mentioned Parada, co-founder of the treasure-hunting outfit Finders Keepers. Solving the thriller is just not his solely objective — he had hoped to earn a finder’s charge from the potential restoration of tons of of tens of millions of {dollars} value of gold.

Treasure hunter Dennis Parada, owner of Finders Keepers, talks about the FBI's 2018 dig for Civil War-era gold in an interview at his office in Clearfield, Pa., Jan. 6, 2023.
Treasure hunter Dennis Parada, proprietor of Finders Keepers, talks concerning the FBI’s 2018 dig for Civil War-era gold in an interview at his workplace in Clearfield, Pa., Jan. 6, 2023.

AP Photo/Michael Rubinkam

An FBI spokesperson declined to reply questions concerning the company’s gold dig data or reply to the coverup allegations, citing the continuing litigation. Last 12 months, the FBI launched an announcement publicly acknowledging for the primary time that it had been searching for gold in Dents Run. The assertion mentioned the FBI didn’t discover any, including the company “continues to unequivocally reject any claims or speculation to the contrary.”

There is little proof within the historic report to counsel that an Army detachment misplaced a gold cargo within the Pennsylvania wilderness — presumably the results of an ambush by Confederate sympathizers — however the legend has impressed generations of treasure hunters, Parada amongst them.

He and his son spent years searching for the fabled gold of Dents Run, finally guiding the FBI to a distant woodland web site 135 miles northeast of Pittsburgh the place they are saying their devices recognized a big amount of metallic. The FBI introduced in a geophysical consulting agency whose delicate gear detected a 7- to 9-ton mass suggestive of gold.


Armed with a warrant, a staff of FBI brokers got here in March 2018 to dig up the hillside. An FBI videographer was readily available to doc it, at one level interviewing a Philadelphia-based agent on the FBI’s art-crime staff who defined why the FBI was within the woods of certainly one of Pennsylvania’s most sparsely populated counties.

“We’ve identified through our investigation a site that we believe has U.S. property, which includes a significant sum of base metal which is valuable … particularly gold, maybe silver,” the agent mentioned on the video, his face blurred by the FBI to guard his privateness.

Calling it a “155-year-old cold case,” he mentioned the FBI had corroborated Parada’s details about the situation of the reputed gold via “scientific testing.” He careworn the check outcomes didn’t show the presence of gold. Only a dig would assist legislation enforcement “get to the bottom of this story once and for all,” the agent mentioned.

This 2018 photo released by Federal Bureau of Investigation shows the FBI's dig for Civil War-era gold at a remote site in Dents Run, Pa., after sophisticated testing suggested tons of gold might be buried there.
This 2018 photograph launched by Federal Bureau of Investigation reveals the FBI’s dig for Civil War-era gold at a distant web site in Dents Run, Pa., after refined testing prompt tons of gold is likely to be buried there.

Federal Bureau of Investigation through AP

Parada obtained the video and different FBI data via a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, hoping they’d assist reply lingering questions on what passed off at Dents Run 5 years in the past. Parada was principally avoided the dig web site whereas the FBI did its work.

He suspects the company carried out a clandestine, in a single day dig between the primary and second days of the court-authorized excavation, discovered the gold, and spirited it away. Residents have beforehand instructed of listening to a backhoe and jackhammer in a single day — when the dig was presupposed to have been paused — and seeing a convoy of FBI autos, together with giant armored vehicles. The FBI has denied it carried out an in a single day dig.

Parada and a guide, Warren Getler, have targeted on a handful of FBI photographs and an accompanying photograph log which have them questioning the FBI’s official gold dig timeline. At challenge is the presence or absence of snow within the photographs and the timing of a storm that briefly disrupted operations. For instance, an FBI picture that was presupposed to have been taken about an hour after the squall doesn’t present any snow on a big, moss-covered boulder on the dig web site. That similar boulder is snow-covered in a photograph that FBI data point out was taken the subsequent morning — some 15 hours after the storm.

They accuse the FBI of altering the sequence of occasions to hide an in a single day excavation.

“We have compelling evidence a night dig took place, and that the FBI went to some large effort to cover up that night dig,” mentioned Getler, co-author of “Rebel Gold,” a e-book exploring the potential of buried Civil War-era caches of gold and silver.

There are different seeming anomalies within the data, in line with Finders Keepers’ authorized movement. Among them:

  • The FBI initially turned over tons of of photographs, however rendered them in low-resolution, high-contrast black-and-white, making it not possible to inform the time of day they had been taken and even, in some circumstances, what they present. The treasure hunters went again and requested a number of dozen of the photographs in coloration, which the FBI offered.
  • The company didn’t present any video of the second and remaining day of the dig. Nor did it produce any photographs or video exhibiting what the FBI’s personal hand-drawn map described as a 30-foot-long, 12-foot-deep trench — which the treasure hunters declare may have solely been dug in a single day. Government attorneys acknowledged these gaps within the photograph and video report however didn’t elaborate in a court docket submitting final week.
  • The consulting agency employed by the FBI to evaluate the potential of gold produced a report on its findings, however the model given to the treasure hunters appears to be lacking key pages.
  • The FBI didn’t present any of its brokers’ journey and expense invoices, which may shed additional mild on the dig timeline.

The data launched up to now “cast doubt on the FBI’s claim to have found nothing and raise serious and troubling questions about the FBI’s conduct during the dig and in this litigation, where it has gone to great lengths to distort critical evidence,” Anne Weismann, a lawyer for Finders Keepers, wrote in a authorized submitting that seeks data, together with the FBI’s operational plan, that she says had been improperly withheld.


The Justice Department didn’t handle the treasure hunters’ most explosive claims of a potential coverup in its newest authorized submitting. The authorities as a substitute instructed a federal choose in Washington, D.C., that the FBI had glad its authorized obligation to the treasure hunters to seek for its records of the dig, and requested for the case to be closed.

The choose has but to rule.

Parada mentioned he’ll maintain asking questions till he will get passable solutions.

“I will stick at this until the end, until I know everything that happened to that gold,” he mentioned. “How much, where it went to, who has it now. I gotta know.”

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