• By The Financial District


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, saying the state might take the gold for itself if the feds asked for permission, according to court documents unsealed, Michael Rubinkam reported for the Associated Press (AP).

The newly unsealed affidavit confirms previous reporting by the AP that the government had been looking for a legendary cache of gold at the site, which federal authorities had long refused to confirm. In any case, the FBI said, the dig came up empty.

The AP and the Philadelphia Inquirer petitioned a federal judge to unseal the case. Federal prosecutors did not oppose the request, and the judge agreed, paving the way for Thursday’s release of documents.

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“I have probable cause to believe that a significant cache of gold is secreted in the underground cave” in Dent’s Run, holding “one or more tons” belonging to the US government, wrote Jacob Archer of the FBI’s art crime team in Philadelphia.

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.

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“I am concerned that, even if DCNR gave initial consent for the FBI to excavate the cache of gold secreted at the Dent’s Run Site, that consent could be revoked before the FBI recovered the United States property, with the result of DCNR unlawfully claiming that that cache of gold is abandoned property and, thus, belongs to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” the affidavit said.

Archer also asserted that in 2013, a legislative staffer met with the treasure hunters who had identified the likely site, and and “corruptly” offered to get them a state permit to dig “in return for three bars of gold or 10 percent” of whatever the treasure hunters recovered.

The staffer said he was acting on behalf of others in state government, Archer wrote.


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