by William Scott – Confirmed Source
The court-ordered release of a trove of government photos, videos, maps and other documents involving the FBI’s secretive search for Civil War-era gold has a treasure hunter more convinced than ever of a coverup — and just as determined to prove it.
Dennis Parada has been involved in a legal battle with the FBI, demanding that they hand over records related to an excavation that took place in Dents Run, Pennsylvania. According to local legend, an 1863 shipment of Union gold disappeared en route to the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, and the FBI had conducted the excavation after sophisticated testing suggested that large amounts of gold might be buried there. However, the FBI has always maintained that the dig was unsuccessful.
Parada and his team have now reviewed the newly released government records and are accusing the FBI of distorting key evidence and improperly withholding records to conceal the discovery of a valuable gold cache. The FBI has defended its handling of the materials, and the dispute is currently being played out in federal court. The judge overseeing the case will decide whether the FBI will have to release its operational plan for the gold dig and other records that they wish to keep secret. It is possible that the judge could also order the FBI to continue searching for additional materials to turn over to the treasure hunter.
Parada, who co-founded the treasure-hunting outfit Finders Keepers, feels that he has been lied to and double-crossed by the FBI. He hopes that the truth will come out and that the mystery will be solved. However, his goal is not just to solve the mystery but also to earn a finder’s fee from the potential recovery of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of gold. At his office, Parada has an array of drilling equipment and metal detectors, as well as Civil War-era cannon parts and other items that he has found over the years.
The FBI declined to comment on their search for gold in Dents Run and allegations of a coverup due to ongoing litigation. However, last year they publicly acknowledged their search for gold but claimed to have found nothing. Despite little evidence to support the legend of a lost Army gold shipment in Pennsylvania, the story has inspired treasure hunters like Parada, who spent years searching for the gold and eventually led the FBI to a remote woodland site. The FBI used sensitive equipment to detect a large quantity of metal, which was believed to be 7-9 tons of gold. With a warrant, FBI agents arrived in March 2018 to excavate the area, and a videographer documented the process. An agent from the FBI’s art-crime team was also interviewed to explain the agency’s presence in the sparsely populated county.
An FBI agent, whose identity was kept private with a blurred face, announced on video that the agency had identified a site with U.S. property that contained valuable base metals, possibly including gold and silver. The FBI corroborated this information through scientific testing, although the results did not conclusively prove the presence of gold. Only a dig could provide further answers, the agent explained, calling it a “155-year-old cold case.”
While the FBI investigated the site at Dents Run, a man named Parada filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to obtain video and other records that he hoped would answer his questions about the case. Parada was mostly kept away from the site during the FBI’s excavation. He believes the agency conducted a secret overnight dig and removed the gold they found, which would explain the discrepancies he and a consultant, Warren Getler, have found in the FBI’s official timeline of the dig. They have raised concerns about the timing of a snowstorm that disrupted the excavation and the presence or absence of snow in certain images of the site. For example, a moss-covered boulder in an FBI image taken after the storm showed no snow, while the same boulder in another image taken the next morning, some 15 hours later, was covered in snow. The FBI has denied conducting any secret overnight digs.
I guess we will have to wait and see.
image 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, Penn., Jan. 6, 2023.
AP PHOTO/MICHAEL RUBINKAM