An FBI agent applied for a federal warrant in 2018 to seize a fabled cache of US government gold he said was "stolen during the Civil War" and hidden in a Pennsylvania cave, per court documents unsealed Thursday. The newly unsealed affidavit confirms previous reporting by the AP that the government had been looking for the legendary gold at the site, which federal authorities had long refused to confirm. "I have probable cause to believe that a significant cache of gold is secreted in the underground cave" in Dents Run, holding "one or more tons" belonging to the US government, wrote Jacob Archer of the FBI's art crime team in Philadelphia. The FBI had long refused to explain exactly why it went digging on state-owned land in Elk County in March 2018, saying only in written statements that agents were there for a court-authorized excavation of "what evidence suggested may have been a cultural heritage site."
Archer told the judge he needed a seizure warrant because he feared that if the federal government sought permission from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to excavate the site, the state would claim the gold for itself, setting up a costly legal battle. Per the affidavit, the FBI based its request for a seizure warrant partly on the work done by Dennis and Kem Parada, a father-son duo of treasure hunters who say they thought they'd found the location of the fabled Union gold, which, per legend, was either lost or stolen on its way to the US Mint in Philadelphia in 1863. The FBI has said the dig came up empty. The Paradas, meanwhile, say they believe the FBI found gold at the site and are seeking thousands of pages of FBI documents about the investigation, as well as video files of the dig. The FBI assertion of an empty hole is "a slap in the face ... [to] the credible people who did this kind of work," Dennis Parada previously told the AP.
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