A Mexican businessman buries 16 tons of gold in the New Mexico desert and then dies before telling anyone where it is.
Farmington, New Mexico, 1933. In the heat of the summer, a pilot named Red Moiser landed several mysterious flights in the desert. There, he was met by a Mexican millionaire named Leon Trabuco.
It’s believed that Trabuco and four other men were quietly buying up much of Mexico’s gold reserves to resell in the United States when the price went up. Trabuco was convinced that because of the Great Depression, the United States would soon devalue the dollar, and that gold prices would skyrocket. But the chance to make huge profits carried huge risks. The gold had to be smuggled into the United States. If the men were caught, they faced long prison terms.
At a makeshift Mexican foundry, gold coins and jewelry were melted down and cast into ingots. In less than three months, the partners had collected almost 16 tons of solid gold.
Legend has it that Trabuco chose a sparsely populated region of New Mexico, near the Ute and Navajo Indian Reservations. Red Moiser allegedly made 16 flights, carrying one ton of gold each time. Pick up trucks then transported it to a secret burial site. Trabuco never revealed the location to his co-conspirators. And he never made a map.
Records indicate that the final shipment was delivered on July 14, 1933. Six months later, the Gold Reserve Act of 1934 became law. The price of gold soared. Overnight, the men’s potential profit increased by seven million dollars.
The group decided not to sell the gold, hoping the price would go even higher. But they were not aware of an executive order related to the Gold Act. It declared that after January 1934, private ownership of gold within the US was illegal. According to treasure hunter Ed Foster, the partners had missed their chance to strike it rich:
The gold seemed to bring bad luck. Within five years, three of the partners had died untimely deaths. Over the next two decades, Trabuco was unable to sell the now illegal gold. When he died, he apparently took the secret location to his grave.
For 35 years, Ed Foster searched for Trabuco’s treasure in the desert around Farmington, New Mexico. He’s convinced that he found the 1933 landing strip used by Red Moiser on a plateau called Conger Mesa:
Ed interviewed another Navajo woman who was six years old in 1933. Ed said she remembered several Mexican men who lived on the Reservation:
Twenty miles west of the mesa, near an old Navajo home, stands a building unlike any other on the reservation. Ed believes it was built by men Trabuco hired to guard the gold:
Ed also found another intriguing clue: a date and some words etched in the face of a stone outcropping. He calls it Shrine Rock, and believes it may be the key to finding Trabuco’s treasure. It reads: “1933 sixteen ton.”
Ed is sure that the gold is buried somewhere within this triangle formed by Conger Mesa, Shrine Rock and the Mexican-style home. Ed asked renowned treasure hunter Norman Scott to make a detailed survey of the area:
Ed Foster had a plan:
Is Ed Foster just chasing a legend? Or does the desert of New Mexico hold the secret to Leon Trabuco’s long lost fortune?
Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season four with Robert Stack and in season four with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.
Yes….I am absolutely sure that if this treasure exists, the United States government would have let a private citizen find – and keep – all 16 tons of gold. There’s no way the government would have kept looking for $800 million dollars worth of solid gold. I think the entire booty is under a local Navajo woman’s hogan; most likely next to a large sheep corral. If anyone out there will provide a small, reasonable amount of financial backing to help me purchase necessary mining equipment – say, $2 million in cash – I am completely confident in finding this long-lost treasure.
@Matthew – Did that activity happen after this show aired?
I actually know W.C. Jameson, and told him the story and showed him the evidence but he didn’t appear to be interested. I have the satellite images, newspaper articles, and all of the subsequent documents that my dad had before he passed. I will say that there is a quarter sized, smooth polished, Apache tear lying directly on top of the spot. My dad dropped it there himself and I was there.
Did that activity happen after the showed aired?
I know personally of a location. I have always thought that it was a Spanish bank from the 1500s, but now I’m not so sure. There were actually 3 locations (anomalies) identified by ground penetrating radar. One was found with over a million dollars in ingots, and 3 of the 4 men were arrested for illegally using explosives. My father was the one who got away. There were two additional anomalies, one that would have equated to approximately 6 million dollars, and a third that was 100 times the size. I can walk to the exact spot today. It’s not tribal land.
So if you know of the location, then why don’t you dig it up?
This is basically the same story as told by W.C. Jameson in his book New Mexico Treasure Tales (mostly fiction with a few famous names thrown in), only with different names. Both stories have some serious holes in them, I’ll mention just one related to this version. “Red” Mosier was indeed a real person (how many pilots could there be named “Red” Mosier), an accomplished aviator that started flying with the Army Signal Corps in WWI, he became a test pilot in Colorado Springs and from 1933 to 1937 he was city manager of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and later became Vice President of Braniff and American Airlines. I highly doubt that Mr. Mosier would leave his job as city manager for 6 months to smuggle gold. W.C. Jameson’s version of this story mentions W.C. Elliot of the Salt Lake City area as pilot, who, according to Jameson died in a plane crash during WWII in England. There are no records of Mr. Elliot in the National Archives as MIA or KIA in WWII, nor are there records of anyone by that name in the Salt Lake area.
Trabuco’s gold? Interesting, here is a businessman who saw an opportunity coming where he could make big money by selling gold illegally in the U. S. He partnered with four other gold investor and it is unknown as to which one helped him buried the gold? They buried the gold in an undisclosed area waiting on the price of gold to rise. It was buried in July of 1933 and while waiting, in 1934, a new law went into effect where they could not sell off their gold. Since gold had not gone up in buying price, they proceeded to go to option plan 2 which was to find someone that could buy the gold from them. It seems that they found someone who was willing to buy their gold but had to wait till the price went up.The price of gold finally started to rise in 1936, but according to another source whom claimed that the U. S. Secret Service got wind of someone trying to launder gold coming from Mexico? Who ever wanted to buy Travuco’s gold had no choice but to abandon the deal. At set time three of his investors had suddenly died. There is no mention as to who was the fourth person involved? Supposedly, Trabuco and this mysterious person were the only two that remain as part of the deal. Trabuco and his pilot mentioned that they took the gold to an undisclosed area where someone else transported the gold somewhere else to be buried? The fourth man on Trabuco’s list was probably the one who buried the gold because he probably was from New Mexico. This fourth man may have been a German spy who is now part of another story of gold that was buried in New Mexico? They claim that he left behind several cipher maps that entail where the gold is buried. He either shot himself cause he was a loyal servant to the German cause or someone shot him? The two stories are very similar except Trabuco didn’t know where his gold was buried and the German spy story says that he buried the gold that belong to him and other Mexican investors. Two very secret operations and both very similar where they both brought gold from Mexico in to New Mexico and you would wonder if they knew each other. The only man left alive was Trabuco with no gold, no map and no one alive to tell him about it. Who buried the gold? Well I’m about to decipher the cipher map and explain what it means since that’s the only thing left to do. So if you say that you need more information that may lead to the gold? Then you should be reading my posts on treasurenet concerning the German Nazi Lue cipher treasure map second thread on treasurenet.
carey w scruggs
Well, well does Trabuco’s gold exist? The Treasury department and the Secret service seemed to think so in the late 40’s and early 50’s. They were probably motivated by the fact that a large amount of gold had entered the U.S.without having paid the required import duties that in itself would have been considered smuggling and as a result the gold would have been considered contraband by them and because of this the gold was and still is considered property of the U.S. government and no statute of limitations apply. I think that the gold exists, however because of the situation as stated it is better off left where it is.
I’m willing to aid any crews looking for this. 35 Male looking for adventure and to possibly make some money. Phoenix, AZ
I know how the gold can be found using modern technology and science. I just lack the funds to purchase equipment then six months of search time.
how can you find it if you did have the money to do so, this is 16 tons of gold so if it can be found i might be able to find a way to help fund this if you seriously know how to find it. also though take into consideration i am of Cherokee decent and it sits on Navajo nation land who arent all that friendly to white people but are even less friendly to Cherokee nation. the looks i got and the words that were said to me when i visited made me know i was less welcome there than a cockroach
Did anyone think they could have built the house on top of it? It states a ton of gold per trip; 2204.62 lbs. Even using trucks, the sheer weight of gold bars would be near impossible to move through sand to caves. I also question whether a small 1920’s bi-plane can take off carrying a half-ton, plus one pilot and fuel, and land on that small airstrip. Someone would have noticed the use of pack mules. I bet its a simpler version. Like they moved it in a truck across the border. There was little to no border control. Also, anyone finding that would have been smart to keep it a secret. People have been murdered for 20 bucks.
I would be willing to assist any party in the search. Franzmuhr@gmail.com
Strong and fit, 40 years old, have equipment, and I live in western Colorado.
What if the gold is closer to the air strip? It would be really hard to carry a ton of gold bar by bar to a hole that must have been big and deep. Also each bar is roughly 27 pounds I believe. Just a thought
One author does indeed suggest that the gold is buried on the west side of the mesa near the air strip. W.C. Jameson’s New Mexico Treasure Tales has a slightly different version of this story.
its buried on my great gmom plot who was 50%native american and bought mineral rights on rio grande estates
I would like to know more please.
I have no idea where he buried the gold, but I certainly know what the area of the treasure looks like , as I have seen people finding big treasures in the same way.
There was some old caves the Spanish excavated out in that area and the Indians mine gold he drove a 1/2 an hour from the air field And put the gold inside the cave then he planted Dynamite at the entrance and blew it closed All you have to do is find the airport it would have not been a fast ride in an old truck so he could have went a long ways I would say was in 10 miles from the airport is where it is buried
The air strip is on conger mesa just offbarker dome just off the Ute rez probably10 miles from the co border
Hire Nathan Drake and Sully! They will find it!
I assure you it’s there. My great grandfather was Orvil Moiser,He gave me a envelope of pictures along with a geographic drawing from Leo Vincent Brothers AKA VINCENT BADER. Vincent was one of your two mystery drivers The catch is that it’s now under a native burial ground and you will never be able to dig it up.
I’d love to see these pictures if you’re willing! Levi@thunderfeather.org
There’s seems to be a lot of stories of lost gold hoards in NM & West Texas (El Paso County). This case, the Pancho Villa gold supposedly given to him by the Germans hidden in the hills of El Paso, the lost gold of the Franklin Mountains, the lost Padre gold. I’m sure I’m leaving out a few. All seem to have the same string: a gold hoard, secreted away without a map, the person/people who hid it died, now nobody can find it. Kinda like how La Llerona is said to “originate” from Albuquerque to El Paso and even Presidio and all up and down the Rio Grande. Perhaps some of these tales all originate from one story and branch away to their own local version of urban legend and myth.
Gee, would you think the 16,000 gold bars found on the White sands missile range in New Mexico could possibly be it?
I know excatly Ware it is . Really it’s common sense. But I’ll keep that to my self unless so eone like fly myself and my dog from Hawaii ? For real.
I found the place that behold the 16 tons of gold,is in a little town near navajo’s reserve .I only need to reactivate my US passport(Im a Mexican treasure hunter) , rent a truck to excavate 1.5meters ,1 heavy truck to transport tje metal and 3 people to help me in the work. 4 tons per head in this mission.
I have a good metal detector and can help
Would be sick finding it like. I’m from the UK and think it’s near the rock shine as there’s an arrow pointing beneath it, it’s never been educated before so who knows where it is, if it exists just like Adams lost canyon and his treasure
It has been a dream of mine to find gold, I would totally love to help! my email is @firstname.lastname@example.org
departure strip, airplane type, fuel tank size with weight and flight time incorp., = landing radius(strip), heavy-duty truck; yr!+mk&mdl=+/-travel radius take all that and add deception. it’s probably in Arizona.
If you are Mexican nationals trying to hide gold (or anything illegal) why would you build a house that stands out?
Also, the price of gold should have increased just due to inflation so he would have moved it back to Mexico and sold it.
Seems like a hoax because it is too much gold.
So it seems too good to be true.
Better off putting on diving suit and search
Pudget Sound for the USS Islander.
At least it is definately somewhere.
Get a Cordoba dog on this treasure they will find it if it even real ed foster
The treasure is a hoax. The first mention of it historically is by WC Jamison. None of these people exist in any census record or national archive in the US or Mexico! Do your research….Don’t get scammed!
I am a pilot and treasure hunter n florida…I always was intetested in this treasure…it can be aerial surveyed with some new neat tecnology …even using drones….I would love to put a group together to look and recover it…BUT isn’t it on NAVAHOE land…and can the US Goverment put a claim on it..they are greedy…
I may be able to help you – please reply to: email@example.com
You have to read the regulation (its complex). This is my summarization: the greedy US gave each Indian a personal plot of land and allowed them to sell it. So even though it is on a reservation (where the tribe has legal rights to all minerals) the owner of that plot of land (probably a non-indian) got mineral rights when they bought the land.
I think I found where Leon must have buried the gold. If Red Moiser had flown the gold to the US, and the trucks had driven it to the burial site, then sure enough one of the drivers should’ve known where it was buried(unless Leon Trabuco shot everyone dead).
That’s one thing that seems to be missing from a lot of these “unreal amount of gold” tales. It takes quite a few people to move this stuff so someone has to know where the truck was unloaded, if not the exact location of the hole.