By Tim Binnall
A pair of treasure hunters have scored a significant victory over the state of Pennsylvania in the latest round of a contentious legal battle surrounding a mysterious search for Civil War-era gold. The strange dispute traces back to March of 2018 when the FBI conducted a dig in a state forest where researchers Dennis and Kem Parada believe a cache of federally-owned gold bars were buried over 150 years ago. At the time, the story seemed to conclude with searchers failing to find any of the lost treasure, however the father and son team of treasure hunters subsequently suggested that something unsavory was afoot.
In an interview with the Associated Press months later, Dennis Parada claimed that not only had the treasure hunters shown federal agents where the gold was buried, but that the FBI assured them that they'd be granted access to the excavation. However, when the dig finally did occur, Parada revealed, he and his son were sequestered away from the site and not allowed to see the search unfold. Only later were they taken to the spot and shown by federal agents that there was nothing there.
"We were embarrassed," Parada declared, "they walk us in, and they make us look like dummies. Like we messed up." As one may have surmised by now, the treasure hunters believe that the FBI did, in fact, find the gold and removed it from the area under the cloak of darkness. Not content to simply air their grievances with the media, the Paradas proceeded to request documentation from the government regarding the dig and, when rebuffed, took the case to court.
And while it may be some time before the matter is ultimately resolved, the Paradas received a win on Thursday when a Pennsylvania appeals court reportedly ruled that the state's Department of Conservation and Natural Resources must hand over any communications they had with the FBI concerning the dig. The department had previously claimed that the information was essentially classified by the federal government since it pertained to a purported criminal probe, which is an argument that apparently did not hold water with the court.
It remains to be seen whether or not the Paradas will ultimately get their hands on the files, since the state of Pennsylvania could appeal Thursday's decision and send the matter back to the courts for yet another fight. One can only imagine how maddening the process must be for the pair who thought that they'd uncovered where the gold was buried and are now forced to hunt for paperwork rather than the actual treasure in order to prove that they were right all along. And that's not even taking into consideration the question of, if the FBI did find the gold, where is it now?