A father and son team of treasure hunters may soon discover the details behind a potential hunt for gold dating back to the Civil War era from the records of an FBI dig in 2018.
A federal judge has required the FBI to promptly release its records regarding the lost treasure to a team operating under the name Finders Keepers led by Dennis and Kem Parada. The father and son have accused the FBI of intentionally delaying its request for information.
Finders Keepers said in a court filing in March that the FBI stated that its records of the dig included 17 video files and 2,400 pages of information. The agency now claims there are just four videos with no explanation for the missing video content, the treasure hunters claim.
“This raises the obvious question of whether videotapes were destroyed in the interim,” wrote attorney Anne Weismann, Finders Keepers’ lawyer.
“There’s been a pattern of behavior by the FBI that’s been very troubling,” Weismann said in January. She questioned whether the agency is “acting in good faith.”
The saga began when the two men reported finding a location they believed was part of an 1863 shipment of Union gold that was intended for the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia. An FBI contractor reportedly confirmed a large mass of metal at the site that suggested the findings could be accurate.
The gold, if found, has a current estimated value of $55 million.
The Paradas traveled to the site in 2018 in Dents Run, Pennsylvania. Rather than being given access to the location, the FBI required the two men to stay in their vehicle while the agency’s officers excavated the site, according to the report.
The FBI claimed the dig was unsuccessful, but the agency’s secrecy has made the treasure hunters suspicious regarding whether gold was found.
The lawsuit “seeks to confirm the FBI’s recovery of Civil War-era gold buried in the mountains of Pennsylvania, based in significant part on scientific evidence of the gold’s existence that Plaintiff provided the FBI.”
According to the January affidavit filed by Finders Keepers, “A few days after the FBI completed its dig at Dents Run, an off-duty Pennsylvania police officer told the Paradas and Mr. Getler that he had witnessed two ‘Brinks’ type armored trucks supported by two Humvees and a black SUV with satellite communication antennae.” Other residents also witnessed the vehicles in the area.
Finders Keepers alleged that they reached out to the owner of the excavator company involved in the FBI dig who said he could not comment “because of the company’s contractual agreement with the FBI.”
Attorney William Cluck filed a FOIA request on May 8, 2018, on behalf of Finders Keepers for “all public records” related to the investigation. Four years later, the request has still not been completed.
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