Affidavit: FBI feared Pennsylvania would seize fabled gold
An FBI agent applied for a federal warrant in 2018 to seize a cache of gold that he said had been “stolen during the Civil War” while en route to the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, and was “now concealed in an underground cave” in northwestern Pennsylvania, according to court documents unsealed Thursday.
The newly unsealed affidavit confirms previous reporting by The Associated Press that the federal government had been looking for a legendary cache of gold at the site, which the agency had long refused to confirm. In any case, the agency 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.
"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 U.S. 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 Natural Resources to excavate the site, the state would claim the gold for itself.
“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.
Additionally, Archer said, a legislative staffer who said he was acting on behalf of others in state government had met with the treasure hunters who identified...