Pennsylvania Treasure Hunters Claim The FBI Is Cheating Them Out Of A Cache Of Civil War Gold

Published March 9, 2021
Updated February 27, 2024

Small-time treasure hunters Dennis and Kem Parada alerted the FBI to what they believed was a horde of stolen gold from 1863. They then claimed that the FBI squeezed them out of the search.

Fbi Digging At Dents Run

FacebookFBI agents digging for the fabled Civil War gold at Dent’s Run, Pennsylvania.

Newly-uncovered emails revealed that the FBI has been engaged in a mysterious years-long dig for Civil War-era gold in Pennsylvania. All the more shocking, however, is that the bureau might have cheated those who originally found it.

According to The Associated Press, there is a legend that gold was allegedly hidden in Dent’s Run, which was an unincorporated community 135 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

According to the story, in 1863, a shipment of Union gold was stolen and then buried there while it was being transported to the United States Mint in Philadelphia. That land is now state-owned property.

As co-owners of the local Finders Keepers treasure-hunting outfit, Dennis and Kem Parada have spent years searching for this cache, which is said to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars today. In January 2018, the Paradas thought they struck literal gold when their metal detector went off in Dent’s Run. They immediately brought their evidence to the FBI.

What followed was a rollercoaster of alleged deception, half-truths, and shadowy excavations in the dead of night. According to TIME, the Paradas now believe there is a government conspiracy to keep the recovered gold for itself.

A 2018 AP interview with Dennis Parada.

The Paradas claim that they first led the FBI to the spot in Dent’s Run where they believed to have found gold on March 13, 2018. The bureau then hired a geophysical consulting firm, Enviroscan, to survey that particular hilltop with a gravimeter.

That device not only indicated that there was indeed a large mass of metal buried below, but that this metallic chunk had the exact same density as gold. Warren Getler, an author whose work specifically concerns the legend of buried Civil War-era gold, worked alongside both the Paradas and the FBI to confirm the find.

Getler said that when he prodded an agent about the size of the metal mass they’d detected, the agent responded simply: “seven to nine tons,” which could potentially equal hundreds of millions of dollars. According to the Paradas, that’s when an ominous series of incidents began to unfold.

Kem And Dennis Parada

FacebookKem and Dennis Parada believe the FBI is conspiring to steal the gold for themselves.

The Paradas claimed that they made an agreement with Gelter and the FBI to oversee the excavation, but that the bureau quickly confined them to their car while the majority of the project was completed.

Finally, the FBI allowed them to take a look at the site at the end of the last day of digging, but all they saw was a hole in the ground. The FBI claimed they found nothing, but the Paradas think differently.

The treasure hunters became especially suspicious after they learned that local residents heard jackhammers and a backhoe in Dent’s Run during the dead of night after the 2018 excavation was supposed to have finished.

Others reported seeing an intimidating convoy of FBI cars and several armored trucks flooding the area. But when residents pressed the FBI for information about their activities, they were met with radio silence.

For three years, the FBI publicly maintained that it had simply been engaged in a court-authorized dig of “a cultural heritage site,” but now, previously undisclosed emails suggest they may be hiding further information.

Dents Run Fbi Excavation

FacebookThe FBI claimed to have found nothing, despite the detector readings indicating a substantial mass below the ground.

Last year, Dennis and Kem Parada successfully sued the FBI to gain access to their emails concerning the dig. In an email that was marked “Confidential,” an assistant U.S. attorney in Philadelphia wrote, “We believe the cache itself is in the neighborhood of three by five by eight (feet) to five by five by eight (feet).”

Because the dig was on state-own land, the FBI was legally required to secure a federal court order to excavate the site. This bureaucratic process resulted in a series of emails between the assistant U.S. attorney and the head lawyer for the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

In an email from March 13, the day FBI agents followed the Paradas to the hilltop site, the head lawyer asked, “Can you please provide the basis upon which the Office of the United States Attorney asserts that the gold, if found, belongs to the federal government?”

Elk County Gold Clipping

Public DomainThe legend of the gold buried at Dent’s Run has been a regional curiosity for decades.

The assistant attorney general replied that they’d rather “discuss this generally with you on the phone.” Then, on March 16, 2018, the assistant attorney suggested that something was, indeed, retrieved.

“We are all disappointed and scratching our heads over the several scientific test results [which falsely indicated there was a metal mass to be found],” he wrote.

“I guess you can’t come right out and state there is no gold to be found at Dent’s Run?” the head lawyer replied.

“Unfortunately, we cannot.”

When the Paradas pressed a Commonwealth Court for more information, Judge Kevin Brobson denied their request, stating the case was sealed. But in his reply, he revealed the maddeningly suspicious name for the top-secret files:

“In the Matter of: Seizure of One or More Tons of United States Gold.”

As it stands, the Paradas and Getler are planning to hold a press conference on Wednesday, March 10, 2021. They believe that the nearly 2,400 pages and video footage held by the FBI contain damning evidence of a cover-up.

“I gotta find out what happened to all that gold,” Dennis Parada concluded.

After reading about the FBI dig for buried Civil War-era gold, learn about the collector who found $2.4 million in gold bars in his eBay purchase. Then, read about the Saddle Ridge Hoard treasure.

Marco Margaritoff
A former staff writer for All That’s Interesting, Marco Margaritoff holds dual Bachelor's degrees from Pace University and a Master's in journalism from New York University. He has published work at People, VICE, Complex, and serves as a staff reporter at HuffPost.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
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Margaritoff, Marco. "Pennsylvania Treasure Hunters Claim The FBI Is Cheating Them Out Of A Cache Of Civil War Gold.", March 9, 2021, Accessed May 27, 2024.