The Gold House Trilogy
$2 Billion in Gold Bullion Stolen from White Sands Missile Range
Victorio Peak lies east of the Jornada del Muerto, an ancient road in southern New Mexico known as the Journey of Death. This mountain has been the site of an unbroken series of events spanning more than 70 years. A chain of unlawful incidents occurred there, crimes that have escaped public scrutiny. Consequently, a chapter of American history as it relates to this section of the great American Southwest has never before been told.
The story of Victorio Peak begins with the discovery of a large treasure of crudely smelted gold ingots, chests of gold coins, and a variety of ancient artifacts. Victorio Peak was the hiding place, but White Sands Missile Range has controlled the land on which the site is located. The treasure’s true discoverers were Doc and Ova Noss. Years after they discovered the treasure it became a windfall for select military and non-military personnel who helped themselves to the gold, a never-ending payday for those who plundered it. Improper or illegal actions were sometimes cloaked under classified, top secret, or “a level four confidential” operation, as noted in a January 27, 1997 FBI memorandum:
SUBJECT: WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, F.B.I. OPERATIONS, 62385-11, “GADDIS TEAM” INTERNAL SECURITY – MILITARY.
The memorandum read, “I have very strict orders to keep Victorio Peak and Tucumcari Project 6 a level four confidential.”
In the 1960s and ’70s, elaborate plans to loot gold bullion from the Noss treasure trove involved at least one CIA operative, shadowy individuals within the Treasury Department, a number of generals at White Sands Missile Range, and high-ranking subordinate officers. The thefts were never properly investigated. Worse yet, when the Army was exposed, as it was during Nixon’s presidency, the commanding general at White Sands orchestrated a phony military inquiry in 1974 to covered up a $2 billion gold theft that had taken place at Victorio Peak in November 1973; an FBI agent participated in the cover up during the special inquiry.
In addition to the thefts of gold from the Noss treasure by military personnel and others, the possibility exists that a certain amount of gold bullion and priceless art that once belonged to the people of Europe was hidden somewhere on White Sands Missile Range.Rumors persist to this day that some of this gold, known as “Nazi” gold, was covertly brought to the United States and secreted somewhere at White Sands Missile Range for safekeeping. It has also been rumored that some of the Nazi gold was stored in caves near or next to the ancient treasure trove found by Doc and Ova Noss. One might find it difficult to believe that Nazi gold could have found its way to White Sands Missile Range. But an abundance of rumor and speculation raise this as a possibility. It is known that certain U.S. Army officers dealt in black market items of gold coins and gold bullion after World War II ended in Europe, and trafficked in a variety of valuable personal effects stolen from Holocaust victims by Hitler. Unresolved questions about Nazi gold at White Sands Missile Range persist to this day. However, the discovery of an ancient treasure inside Victorio Peak by Doc and Ova Noss is irrefutable.
The three books of The Gold House tell the saga of the Victorio Peak treasure in detail, exposing unchecked greed, theft, unlawful military intercession and manipulation of civil matters, and activities that continue to suppress the liberty, freedom and constitutional rights of every American. The crimes the Noss treasure set in motion were so pernicious that it is difficult to believe such events could have ever taken place. But they did. Through the misuse of power, covered by a cloak of secrecy, the course of American history was in fact altered. The crime scene was Victorio Peak, the victims include the Noss family, and because of the constitutional issues and questions connected to the thefts, every citizen in the United States as well.
The first book of The Gold House trilogy , The Gold House––The Lies, The Thefts, centers on the lives of Doc and Ova Noss, Doc’s murder, the trial that followed, and the failure of the presiding judge, William Scoggin, to recuse himself despite a serious conflict of interest—he was Doc’s business partner. The book also delves into the two-decade struggle by the Noss family to legally secure the treasure and describes how Ova Noss was forcibly driven from her claim site. This eviction marked the beginning of events that led to the theft of the treasure by the military and others.
The second book of The Gold House trilogy , The Gold House––The Lies, The Thefts, , is a documented account of how and when military personnel and others removed portions of the treasure. The book describes the known and reported thefts, including an extraction by military personnel in 1961 headed by U.S. Army Captain Orby Swanner, who was stationed at White Sands Missile Range when the gold was removed. Swanner’s personal inscription on a Victorio Peak cavern wall reads: Orby Swanner 7 Oct 1961 US ARMY 02206135 CAPT.” Swanner later claimed that the gold was taken to Fort Knox by truck, a confession made to his sister, Juanita Erwin, and brother-in-law, Eugene Erwin. By October 28, 1961, the extraction operation at Victorio Peak was in full swing under the direction of Major General John G. Shinkle, who operated under the sanctions and directives of Leland Howard, Director of Silver & Gold Operations at the U.S. Mint. Shinkle lied to New Mexico officials, denying that any military personnel had been excavating the site, claiming such rumors were a “myth”—only later for it to be discovered that the extraction activity had taken place.
Suspecting that CIA and Army personnel were involved in the theft, Congressman George Mahon called Shinkle on December 15, 1961. Shinkle recorded the conversation. A brief part follows:
Cong Mahon: I have a problem, I have some constituents who are very fine men, who have complained to me that they have an interest in a mine over there. This has been in the papers and books have been written about a gold deposit, etc., and they are working thru somebody in Clovis and they think there is something rotten in Denmark....
Gen Shinkle: ... I hesitate to talk to you freely over the phone because it is sort of a critical publicity problem.
Cong Mahon: ... Is there any basis at all for this complaint business?
Gen Shinkle: There is a Mr. Martin, Wichita, Kansas who represents himself as a lawyer in the behalf of a Mrs. Noss and a Mr. Beckwith. I have explained to him that there have been operations in that area, everything has been stopped and I am barring everybody from going in to those areas. ... This is a ticklish matter.
The events as described here were only the beginning.
The third book of the Gold House trilogy, The Gold House––Executive Order , describes the return to Victorio Peak by Ova Noss’ grandson, Terry Delonas. Through his efforts and that of others, the Ova Noss Family Partnership (ONFP) was formed. The final search for the Noss treasure began in 1981 when a retired Army general told Delonas that half of the treasure was still inside Victorio Peak. Later, President George W.W. Bush allowed the new search. Soon after the search began, however, ONFP was faced with numerous problems from the White Sands accounting office: exorbitant overcharges, false billings, and fraud, to name only a few.