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.
That's according to court documents unsealed Thursday.
The FBI had long refused to confirm why exactly it went digging on state-owned land in Elk County in March 2018.
After meeting with the treasure hunters in early 2018, the FBI brought in a contractor with more sophisticated instruments. The contractor detected an underground mass that weighed up to nine tons and had the density of gold, the affidavit said.
The FBI said in the newly released court documents that it feared the state of Pennsylvania would claim the gold for itself, setting up a costly legal battle.
That amount of gold would be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Federal authorities say the dig came up empty.
But the father-son duo who brought a small army of federal agents to the site remain convinced the FBI uncovered something there — and their lawyer is still pressing the case, successfully suing for access to government emails about the dig.