Family Accuses FBI Of Conspiracy In Civil War Treasure Hunting Case

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Joshua Gill Religion Reporter
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  • A father and son prospecting duo allegedly located a large, metallic mass on federal land in Pennsylvania they believed to be a lost cache of Union gold from the Civil War.
  • The prospectors presented their evidence to the FBI which they say, after conducting their own scans, excavated the area but claimed to find nothing.
  • The prospectors and their neighbors claim the FBI is lying, based on the FBI’s initial scan and the appearance of transferring materials to armored vehicles after the dig.

A father and son prospecting duo and an investigative journalist accused the FBI of digging up and concealing lost Civil War gold in Pennsylvania.

Dennis and Kem Parada claim to have found a large deposit of precious metal — likely gold, they say — after using high-end metal detectors and other equipment to search through the wilderness on a patch of federal land in search of a cache of gold rumored to have been lost in the area by the Union during the Civil War. The Paradas asserted that after positively identifying an underground deposit they believed to be the treasure and presenting evidence to the FBI, the agency dug up the gold in secret and claimed to have found nothing. (RELATED: Pastor Disappears, Latest Victim Of Treasure Hunt Across Western US)

The FBI allegedly barred the Paradas from watching while they excavated the site and later led them to the spot to show them an empty hole where they had dug.

“After my years of experience here using equipment, there was something here, something here of value, some kind of precious metal. And whatever it is, it’s gone now. And that’s what I want to get to the bottom of, is what was in that hole,” Kem said, according to The Associated Press.

The Paradas’ search for the gold was based on a story that the Union army sent a shipment of gold from Wheeling, West Virginia, in a wagon train bound for Philadelphia. The gold was either lost or stolen somewhere in the Pennsylvania wilderness due to the wagon train’s efforts to stick to routes that would prevent detection by Confederate soldiers. The Paradas and journalist Warren Getler, who has worked with them, believed they had located this lost cache when their high-end metal detectors discovered a large metallic underground deposit. They presented their evidence to the FBI, which they say later scanned the area with their own equipment, revealing that the metallic mass had the same density as gold.

The FBI then began a court-sanctioned excavation of the site, which the Paradas said the agency initially promised they could watch. When the dig began, however, the Paradas said FBI officers told them to stay in their cars. The FBI then called a halt to the dig at 3 p.m. when, Dennis said, the diggers were only three feet away from unearthing the deposit. Neighbors of the Paradas said, however, that the hill remained brightly lit until about 2 a.m., as did the sounds of digging equipment like a backhoe and a jackhammer.

“It was just real loud all night,” Cheryl Elder, a former constable who lives nearby, recalled. “It was driving me nuts.”

The Paradas said they were led to believe the dig resumed the next day, after which they said FBI officers led them to the spot and claimed they’d found nothing.

Elder said afterward she saw FBI vehicles back up to all terrain vehicles at the bottom of the hill, one by one, and transfer something she could not discern between them. Another nearby resident said she saw an FBI convoy pass by along with two armored trucks as she was taking her children to school.

“I know they found gold. I know they found it, and they’re being sneaky,” Elder said.

If the FBI did find gold, which in this case would be lost or stolen federal property on federal land with the aid of the Paradas, the find could result in a court battle over whether the Paradas are entitled to a portion of the find, according to the Paradas’ lawyer, Bill Cluck.

The Paradas and Getler said the FBI’s scan revealed a massive deposit that, if comprised entirely of gold, would have been worth over $250 million.

“There was definitely some kind of precious metal based on the readings of the instruments at the site,” Cluck said. “The fact they wouldn’t let them be there for the dig, it’s suspicious as hell and it doesn’t have to be.”

The FBI denied the Paradas’ claims of conspiracy in a statement to Fox News.

“FBI investigators must follow the facts. The fact here, as previously stated, is that nothing was found in the excavation. The FBI unequivocally rejects any claims or speculation to the contrary,” a statement from the FBI’s Philadelphia division said. “While we felt it important to respond to the false supposition promulgated in a media report today, as this matter is related to an ongoing investigation, any additional comment would be inappropriate at this time.”

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