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US treasure hunters accuse FBI of covering up Civil War gold discovery | Pennsylvania

Court-ordered release of photos, videos, maps, or other documents involving secretive persons FBI Treasure hunters looking for Civil War-era gold are convinced of the cover-up.

Dennis Parada sued to force the FBI to hand over records of excavations at Dents Run. pennsylvaniaAccording to local lore, a shipment of gold in 1863 disappeared en route to the United States Mint in Philadelphia. The FBI says it went to Denz Run after advanced tests suggested there may be a large amount of gold buried there, but found nothing.

Parada believes otherwise. He accuses the FBI of distorting key evidence and improperly withholding records. The FBI will defend its handling of the material.

The dispute is now in federal court, and a judge must decide whether records that the FBI wants to keep confidential should be made public.

“We feel betrayed and lied to,” said Parada, co-founder of treasure hunting firm Finders Keepers.

Solving mysteries isn’t his only goal. He also hoped to recover hundreds of millions of dollars worth of gold to reward his discoverers.

An FBI spokesperson declined to answer questions, citing ongoing litigation. Last year, the FBI publicly admitted that Denz was looking for gold on his run. It said it had found nothing and “continues to unequivocally reject any claims or speculations to the contrary.”

Few historical records suggest that a US military detachment lost its cargo of gold in the Pennsylvania wilderness, but it was most likely an ambush by Confederate sympathizers.

Parada and his son spent years searching for dent run gold, ultimately leading the FBI to a remote woodland area 135 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

A geophysical consulting firm has detected a 7- to 9-ton nugget suggestive of gold. In March 2018 he was approached by a team of FBI agents. An FBI videographer was on hand, and at one point he was interviewing a Philadelphia-based agent from the FBI Art Crime Team.

“Our research has identified sites that appear to have U.S. assets that contain large amounts of valuable base metals, especially gold, possibly silver,” said the agent. said with a blurred face.

Calling it a “155-year-old cold case,” the agent said the FBI corroborated Palada’s information through “scientific testing.” He said that only a bargain would help to “do.”

Parada obtained the video and other FBI records through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. He was mostly kept away from the dig site, but now suspects the agency conducted a covert overnight excavation, found gold and missed it. He said he heard backhoes and jackhammers the night he was supposed to, and saw FBI vehicles, including a large armored truck. The FBI denies conducting an overnight search.

Parada and consultant Warren Gettler focus on FBI photos and photo logs. The problem is the presence or absence of snow in the image and the timing of the storm that disrupted operations. One of his FBI images, believed to have been taken about an hour after the squall, doesn’t have snow on the large boulders. FBI records show the same rocks covered in snow in a photograph taken the morning after his 15 hours into the storm.

“There is compelling evidence that a night excavation took place and that the FBI went to great lengths to cover up that night’s excavation,” Goetler said. .

According to Finders Keepers’ legal complaint, there are other things in the record that appear to be anomalous.

The FBI initially submitted hundreds of photographs, but rendered them in low-resolution, high-contrast black and white, making it impossible to tell when they were taken or, in some cases, what they showed. Treasure hunters requested dozens of color photographs provided by the FBI.

Nor did the agency provide any video of the second day of excavation or any photos or videos showing their own hand-drawn map of what the treasure hunters claimed was a 30-foot-long, 12-foot-deep trench. bottom. dug overnight. Government attorneys acknowledged these gaps in the record but did not elaborate on them in last week’s court filings.

A consulting firm hired by the FBI to assess gold potential produced a report on its findings, but the version handed out to treasure hunters appears to be missing a key page. The FBI did not provide any travel or expense invoices.

The records thus made public “discuss the actions of the FBI during this investigation and in this case, which have gone to great lengths to question the FBI’s claim that nothing was discovered and to distort material evidence.” , raises serious and thorny issues,” said attorney Anne Wiseman. I wrote it on legal papers for Finders Keeper.

The US Department of Justice did not address the cover-up claims. Instead, the government told a federal judge in Washington that the FBI had fulfilled its legal obligation to investigate the records and asked them to close the case.

The judge has not yet ruled. Parada keeps asking questions.

“I’ll stick with this until I know everything that happened to that gold,” he said. .

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/feb/19/treasure-hunter-civil-war-gold-fbi-accused-cover-up US treasure hunters accuse FBI of covering up Civil War gold discovery | Pennsylvania

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