Did the FBI make off with 'seven to nine tons' of Civil War-era gold in a Pennsylvania forest after a treasure hunting duo led them to its long-hidden location?
A father-son team wants to know, and has successfully sued for access to government emails about the dig.
Here's what we know, according to the Associated Press.
On march 13, 2018, treasure hunters Dennis and Kem Parada, who co-own the treasure-hunting outfit Finders Keepers, led FBI agents to a location in "Dent's Run," located approximately 135 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.
The Paradas had spent years looking for the long-lost booty, an 1863 shipment of Union gold, which was either lost or stolen on its way to the US Mint in Philadelphia.
The FBI brought in geophysical consulting firm, Enviroscan, to survey the hilltop site, where their gravimeter identified 'a large metallic mass with the density of gold," according to Warren Getler, a consultant who worked closely with both the FBI and the Paradas.
An FBI agent told them the location of the mass was “one or two feet off Denny’s sweet spot,” recalled Getler, author of “Rebel Gold,” a book exploring the possibility of buried Civil War-era caches of gold and silver. “Then I went to ask how big is it. And he said, ‘7 to 9 tons.’ And I literally said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding!’” That much gold would be worth hundreds of millions of dollars today — and, assuming it was there, would almost certainly touch off a legal fight over how to divvy up the spoils. -AP
The FBI says they found nothing at the site, while Enviroscan co-founder Timothy Bechtel said the FBI told him to keep his mouth shut about his findings.
The Paradas, meanwhile, say the FBI struck a deal to let them watch the site excavation - only to confine them to their car for most of the two-day dig, only to escort them to a "large, empty hole" at the end of the second day.
The emails are quite revealing. In one, an assistant US attorney in Philadelphia, K.T. Newton, wrote in an email marked "Confidential,": "We believe the cache itself is in the neighborhood of 3x5x8 (feet) to 5x5x8."