The Four Corners of Gold2018-07-04T09:33:06+00:00

The Four Corners Story of Gold

One of history and gold

Somewhere Near The Four Corners Area

The Four Corners Story History & Research April 15, 1933 Cuenavaca, Mexico

Meeting: Called by venture investment banker Rafael Borega Subject: Futures gold market, U.S. controlled In attendance
1. Leon Trabuco, – wealth miner, inherited, rancher from the Cihuahua district.
2. Ricardo Artega {Arteaga} – wealthy rancher from Torreon
3. Carlos Sepulvada – wealthy rancher, bull raiser from Coahuila district.
4. Professor Morado – Mexican economical counsel of the Univ. of Mexico

Rafael Borega had evidence the U.S. may set a gold standard at least $10.00 above the then current world price of $20.67 per ounce. Borega brought Professor Morado to the meeting for a professional opinion and he, the professor was represented as an insider to U.S. policies. Rafael Borega – Spanish/Mexican Euro and North American international banker.

U.S. data supplied to all attending the meeting by Professor Morada:

1. On the fifth of April – 1933 President Roosevelt of the United States issued the first executive order concerning gold standard, forbidding U.S. citizens from hoarding or owning private gold. Only miners and refiners could hold gold and they were to sell the metal to the U.S. federal mints as processed. FDR further proposed to congress, that a U.S. gold act law be enacted and passed to stabilize the depression years and the devaluation of the U.S. dollar. Committees went to work on a law draft. The finance committee had the law prepared by late 1933 and after presented to congress was passed after winter adjournment in 1934.
January 17 – 1934 signed into law by FDR as the Gold Act. The federal reserve set the first price of gold at $35.00 per troy ounce. Making the Fort Knox federal reserve stronger and foreign debts easier to amortize. This afforded FDR?s rebuilding and new deal socialist policies.

2. Professor Morada had forecasted these events properly at the Mexico meeting of 1933. The Mexican group became known as Trabuco’s group. Trabuco’s group at the meeting proposed to purchase all the Mexican gold available at the $20.67 or less price, store and hold these for future U.S. sales.
Professor Morada had forcast the gold may go as high as $40/per ounce by 1935-36. He cited many factors such as the U.S. stock crash of 1929, rebuilding and the U.S. bank collapse. The group were gamblers and Trabuco already stored gold from his mines where he often retained seven to ten tons for speculations and or use as needed.
Profits were projected in a short time frame of at least 30% gain or over.

Professor Morada designed the plans where the Mexican nationals could smuggle the gold out of Mexico with ease and avoid Mexican laws which prohibited this. As only Mexican federal mints would handle Mexican produced gold. {By law} The group would remove all the gold they accumulate in 1933 in Mexico, to the U.S.. There also existed small private Mexican miners who sold gold for cash, non recorded at the federal mint for as little as $15.00 per ounce.
Trabuco was to be the moving agent and U.S. storage provider.
Note: only two among the group raised any questions at all. Ricardo Atrega asked, “What if the U.S. federal will not purchase the gold from us”? Profesor Morada replied, “We have always smuggled and sold on the Spain and Euro markets, avoiding our government’s inquiring eyes, this is no different and there is no Mexican border officials checking outgoing peoples.” The group seemed satisfied and with Trabuco setting his gold in the deal, the others pooled monies with the investment banker, Rafael Borega to start immediate purchase of gold.

Borega set up a shop at Puebla Mexico with a small smelter and passed the word to the southern placer miners that there was a purchaser at Puebla. Other miners, even from the north traveled to Puebla to avoid sales to the monitored federal mint where government taxes were deducted and mine data was too often divulged to others.
Leon Trabuco apparently had eight tons stored prior to this deal being put together, it is thought Ricardo Artega supplied four tons from both his hoard and some clandestine purchases. Carlos Sepulvada from Coahuila supplied most of the investment monies for Rafael Borega to purchase the estimated five tons of private gold. A later investigative U.S. reporter states the Sepulvada family lost 36 million pesos at the 12.5 exchange rate = three million U.S. dollars. Quite a sum in 1933. That amount would purchase five tons circa 1933 or 146,000 ounces at $20/per ounce. In any event between Chihuahua and Puebla Mexico the group had by the end of 1933 – 17 tons of gold to move.
It only required two months to June 1933 for the tons to accumulate and Sepulvada had expired all he was going to invest. Leon Trabuco had supplied refiners and molds to the Puebla project and the expertise to stamp these ingots as 99 pure fine.

Trabuco was elected to make the arrangements to move the bullion, store it and disburse to sales when the time was right.
Circa August 1933 – Trabuco and two trusted employees drove a 1932 near new Dodge truck over the Nogales border crossing. There they registered their rifles and made visitors visa, stating they were on their annual deer hunting trip. They passed without incident and proceeded through Arizona to New Mexico’s Four Corners area.
There the three, could rent a hotel room and visit relatives without attracting too much attention. They stated to the locals that they had Colorado deer permits and would be driving into Colorado on occasions. No one suspected their plans.

Trabuco scouted around for remote ranches for rent and or a landing spot out of sight of population. Once he located a safe sheep camp high on a mesa top, he set to clearing a landing strip and markers to guide the plane in.

Trabuco asked around the area farmers near Farmington about strong crop dusting planes. From the knowledgeable farmers he learned of a group from Salt Lake City, Utah, came into the area during the summer months to spray the fields.

Trabuco called the Salt Lake Flyers and obtained the name of one of their best flyers. Bill Elliot. {William C. Elliot} He owned a Stearman plane which had conversions on it for heavier loads. The Stearman had a new Pratt & Whitney engine of 440 horse power and extra fuel tanks for long runs. Trabuco convinced Elliot it would be worth his time to fly from Bloomfield and have a meeting. In fact Trabuco wired Elliot $200 fuel monies to insure he came. Trabuco landed at a private farm near Kirkland, New Mexico. Halfway between Farmington and Shiprock City. {Not the rock Shiprock}

The two gentlemen struck a deal. Elliot was elated, the crop dust season was nearly over and spending a winter out of Utah and getting paid well was even better. Trabuco agreed to supply the fuels, the stop groceries and $2,500 U.S. per flight from Chihuahua to the secret strip. Elliot would also for secrecy purposes receive 5% of the profit from the eventual sales to remain secret. The remainder of the year was spent moving the bullion from Mexico to Four Corners.
Trabuco had flown south with Elliot the first trip to arrange loading and apprise his people there, that Elliot was authorized to pick up the gold on several upcoming trips. Trabuco returned on the first flight with Elliot and 1500 pounds of gold. The trusted Mexican peons of Trabuco’s had made a small camp shelter and with rented horses patrolled the area. The area was isolated and no traffic.

The promontory it set on had a view to all areas and a steep cliff bordering it on three sides. No roads but a small trail the peons had widened for Trabuco’s truck to use. The peons had used the rocks from an old Indian Hogan to construct the landing site towers, destroying one Hogan and part of another. The Hogan nearest the guard shed, had a sunken floor ground floor. There the peons removed the gold from the plane, laid it in the sunken pit. Covered it with a tarp and then placed sand over it.
When five tons would accumulate, Trabuco would appear on the mesa. He would have it loaded on his truck, one ton at a time. He would leave the peons there by the Hogan site and travel in an easterly direction to a pre-designated hiding cave. It would take approx. 1 hour round trip. It would take three flights for Elliot to bring in another five tons of gold. Elliot is said to have made ten flights between August 1933 to November 1933 to move the entire stash. From Torreon to the U.S. border is 600 miles and 1000 miles on to the Four Corners site.

Records indicate that Trabuco purchased fuel at the border, U.S. side Nogales and at Winslow, Arizona. It was stated later by one of the peons relatives at Bloomfield, Trabuco had purchased several shovels and tools at the hardware store.

This venture seemed more of an adventure to Trabuco than a profit making project. He is said to like ventures of many sorts. The mystery and the planning was his life blood. He had old Spanish new world riches beyond belief. The partners were not so well off.

January 17, 1934. The U.S. Gold Act was signed and enacted. There followed an immediate order for all banks, storage refiners and brokers to turn in their gold to the federal mints for paper monies. At the exchange rate of $35.00 per ounce. However tied to the act was an addendum which required all private citizens to turn in their gold or face illegal storage laws violations.

It became illegal to sell to anyone but the federal mints. It became illegal to export or sell to foreigners. The Mexican group was elated but mixed up as to how the laws may eventually effect their plans. By late 1934, Professor Mroada advised the group to hold the gold longer, as he predicted further U.S. dollar devaluation and a higher price for gold. The participants Trabuco and Artega elected to wait. The investment banker, Rafael Borega, voted to sell because any and all profits were tied to the sales profits. Carlos Sepulvada voted to sell, he had hard cash in the deal and wanted part sold to at least retrieve his cash.

Ricardo Artega stated he would leave all the decisions uo to Trabuco and the vote was tied and dissension started within the group. Trabuco asked Professor Morada to vote, but he declined stating that he was an advisor only and had no vote.

Trabuco agreed to go to the U.S. in late 1935 and start partial sales. Trabuco returned to Mexico to report it may be near impossible to sell within the U.S. and other plans must be reviewed. He learned at Denver, no private broker would touch foreign gold. Trabuco’s plan was to acquire a trusted Latino U.S. citizen partner, file a mining claim and filter the bullion through the mine records to the federal mint sales.

It was learned from a Denver bookkeeper that by the time the U.S. mint handled such a large scale, federal tax authorities may step in to investigate and secure some of the sales monies. A slow sale may work but this would take a lot of time and eventual mine books and records of expenses with tax forms would need to be filed. Meetings in Mexico and plans were discussed. Time went by and by the 1939, the U.S. had held the control price of $35.00 per ounce and plans were made to acquire U.S. citizens to help in the sales. Rafael Borega, stated he could move the gold sales to Germany if the group could get it back to Mexico. Borega died in his office in mid 1939 from a heart seizure. In 1940, Trabuco inquired at the German embassy in Mexico City and received a cold shoulder and was treated as an agent of the U.S., trying some plan to get the German embassy expelled from Mexico. In which would destroy their future plans of access to the U.S.

In 1940, Carlos Sepulvada was killed in a drunken auto accident outside Monterey, Mexico.

Leon Trabuco traveled to Utah to meet Elliot in 1941 and related the causes of the delays. Elliot stated he would seek out some solution if he could. At that time, only Trabuco survived as an investor and only the Sepulvada family survivors complained for solutions. Trabuco satisfied the Sepulvada family by paying them their losses with no profits.
Trabuco was now the sole owner of a large stash, which was near worthless where it lay.

In 1942, William Elliot enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and after a short training period was ready for fighter pilot duties over Europe. Lieutenant Elliot was listed as killed in action over Germany in 1943. Hence only Trabuco survived the clandestine group after WW II.
In 1947, Trabuco had approached several underground buyers and alleged experts to help him sell off the cache. One of these from Denver leaked the information to U.S. treasury officials. Trabuco not knowing he was under scrutiny and investigation, approached an attorney in Denver to represent him in an attempt to make a legal sale to the U.S. mint. His offer to the treasury was: He would allow the government to obtain the gold through an escrow account at the $20.67 per ounce and he would get out of the deal at a break even figure and allow the U.S. the profits of the difference. The Denver attorney would nor divulge Trabuco’s name to the treasury and learned the treasury had determined the gold had entered the U.S. illegally against both U.S. and Mexican laws.

If the Denver attorney’s client would come forward, turn the gold in and file a counter suit for the rights to values in money less U.S. taxes they would co-operate.
No fool would ever fall for that one and Trabuco remained obscure. The Denver attorney received several threats from the treasury department, but some wiser federal attorney foresaw the client privilege laws overriding the treasury in courts and elected to advise no action.
President Truman was consulted concerning Trabuco’s offer and the White House Counsel advised him to avoid the deal. The proper authorities would eventually trap the foreign seller.

In 1952, another attempt by an attorney from California was made with the treasury for a deal for Trabuco. Again this was turned down as the government had military agents posted in the Farmington area in flight searches for the alleged site. The Justice dept. was aroused by the treasury and in 1953 the evidence and some names were turned over to a federal grand jury for indictment. The evidence presented to the grand jury included secret files of the 1950 investigations which followed Trabuco’s activities around.
A prominent Los Angeles cattle man named George Luckey had reported to the Secret Service in 1950 the facts he had been asked by an associate to act as an inter-mediator involved in the illegal sale of a large amount of foreign gold. Luckey stated the amount stated to him was from a Los Angeles area public relations firm, who often represented foreign clients. The specific relations man’s name was Bruce Clews. The deal was for 35,000 pounds of gold. The total deal was in the 20 million dollar class at $35 per ounce.
Further grand jury inquiries learned an attorney had sat in on the Clews/Luckey proposals. His name is Prentiss More. Clews later on the witness stand stated the deal was brought to him by an alleged metal import dealer named Martin Hougan. Hougan also hung out a sign that he was a foreign mine expert with international clients and connections. Hougan had represented to the group that he had the power of attorney to represent a foreign client in sales and that he for the record had to see the gold before he would represent the foreign client. Hougan would not repeat these statements before the grand jury in 1954. He took the fifth amendment and disappeared overseas soon after the first grand jury session.

The sale of the gold was to be through an escrow system handled at the First National Bank in Ontario, California. Some bank officials were subpoenaed by the grand jury. B.J. Klepper, the escrow officer from the bank, handed his complete file over to the justice department. At the time all witnesses offered full co-operation but Hougan departed the country. Angus D. McEachen the U.S. justice department attorney requested indictments be issued and warrants for several individuals not yet mentioned, and of course Leon Trabuco was named with no specific charges filed at that date. However with no warrants servable, the indictments and warrant have been renewed each year as more of a matter of civil service harassment as usual in this social system. A renewal of charges was filed as late as 1974, keeping the file active.

The Hougan investigative report statements included the gold was somewhere in the northwest rugged country of New Mexico. In San Juan County. The Trabuco charges included, Violation of international smuggling laws, Violation of 1934 Gold Act and open charges to be.
SUMMARY: It was alleged Trabuco in 1933-34 maintained two Mexican guards living close by the Shiprock area, on the Indian reservation, until he moved the cache to his private site.

Several past searches both illegal and Navajo permitted, have concentrated their searches around the actual Shiprock, and nearby mesas. We know of two intensive infrared surveys conducted by two different groups from California around the Shiprock area. Both were unsuccessful. Ed Foster of Farmington has conducted extensive searches and located an array of evidence and has theories of his own. He states an old Ute woman near Aztec, New Mexico used to watch planes land at the field south of La Plata mines called Conger mesa strip. In 1933 she was a very young girl a strange plane landed several times that fall and the plane remained an hour or so. We interviewed others in the Conger area and people that have been there prior to 1933 and they doubt any clandestine activity took place there.

Mr. Foster has located an old shack and a mesa in the circumference of where he thinks the stash site is within an hour’s rough drive from the alleged landing site. Mr. Foster also during the last few years has located a rock with the carved sign on it: 16 tons 1933. I believe someone is pulling jokes on treasure hunters with that sign. It made good copy and stories, even though a Mexican would not spell tons in that manner.

We have had our own flyovers and sites with landing site towers constructed from Hogan stones. A rough landing strip, but where could they move the gold by truck be from these?

It is within five miles as the peons stated to the others at the ranch in Chihuahua. “Trabuco was only gone a short time, with a ton at a time, to make five trips each day, after five tons was stored at the landing strip.” Hence Trabuco was only on the mesa three times to make the bullion moves and avoided the area as much as possible, while his guards acted as stockmen.

No map was made and the only statement credited to Trabuco to Hougan was the gold is within a half hour drive of a major New Mexico landmark.
The truck Trabuco used in New Mexico was said to have returned to Chihuahua in 1934 was missing the right front fender. We located a fender part on our mesa site and it appeared a driver had tried to negotiate a curve on a wet slick mud road. After hitting a rock, he had to tear the fender of to proceed.
Within the confines of what we call the sheep camp, we uncovered an old Dodge motor generator in which was a unique part used on that vintage. It is belt driven starter motor, which converts to a battery generator when the motor starts. Rather Trabuco had spare parts or not is unknown. We thought this may be an inoperative generator and he had to replace it during the operation. When we got this unit home, I put 12 volts to it and it worked. I then put a 110 volt motor, belted to it, and it generated power. So the replacement theory was out.

Oil was discovered and activity in the area since 1955 has erased a lot of trails infrared would normally afford. It is down now to covering a five mile circle with good equipment.
This is in addition and amendment to our private cannon process file and should be cross referenced to copies of as there is some Indian history within the old version.
Research & References 1. Foster unsolved mysteries program. 2. Los Angeles Federal District Court records. 3. Contacts at Salt Lake Muni. airport, in re: Elliot. 4. Research associate, Able Torrengo – Chihuahua, Mexico. 5. Young Licensed Cal. Investigators P.D. file. Evidence: From three ground and flight trips to area 1992-1994 1. Shack located on mesa. Most probable airstrip south from shack. Where monuments line up. 2. Dodge motor generator. 3. Ripped fender located on trail north of shack. 4. Two destroyed Indian Hogans south of shack, on mesa. Rocks from Hogans located on west mesa edge, constructed into three towers in line from western air with airstrip. 5. Horse and pack animal corral located. Trail leading to certain cave districts. A major lead will afford to us from a retired agriculture analyst living near the area. This lead will be followed up as travel budget allows. Additional related data attached. Attachment: 1920 – 1933 – Most countries required miners and refiners to sell gold to government mints only. In the U.S. the miners were requested by some state laws to sell to government sources only. However the 1934 federal law states that all mines, sell to government mints only and in addition, the law requires all private citizens to turn in their gold and it became illegal for a citizen to use gold for trade purposes. Many U.S. mid and west coast miners smuggled their sales to foreign buyers who paid more than the government. This act could land both the buyer and seller in federal prison, however the profits were such that the sales went on allowing the seller an income tax free gold sales.

Only some large mine ventures were monitored by the government, watching the sales. It became a known fact that federal mints during the final refining process, only credited the miners with the net fine gold turned in at $35.00 per ounce. Any rare metals of value, such as common platinum, the federal mint deducted from the gold weights and retained the rare metals for federal profits. For some years without the miners knowledge. Several miners who are in districts where minute traces of platinum is apparent in gold, these miners preferred to smuggle the main products mined to foreign buyers for obvious reasons. Whatever the federal mints practiced, the controlled prices and the mistrust caused the federal mints to lose most of the small mined gold produc- tion. During the era from 1933 to 1970. It was not just the loss of federal revenue of having the gold in the depository for later inflation profits, but the loss of income tax collected. The era was a major contributor of mistrust in the U.S. government system.

Prior to the 1933 U.S. Gold Act, the general western world price was from $20 to $22 per troy ounce. However several eastern countries which had a free market or an uncontrolled income of smuggled import gold, the prices were controlled by supply and demand. During the era 1935 to 1942 several Asian countries paid near $50 per troy ounce. By the year 1955 the Asian and Indian markets paid $85 per troy ounce. It is very apparent why western miners would sell to foreign buyers at $40 to $50 per ounce, deriving more for their gold and avoid the tax reporting. The buyer if one could get the gold out of the U.S. to his foreign sales destination, could often double their investment monies.

The U.S. enforcement of controlling gold sales was very weak and seemed to act on the advertisement of fear rather than actions. Enforcement within countries such as large producers such as Mexico was also weak. Small mines never heeded the laws which required all in country production to be sold to the government only, but larger well known mines could pay off mint officials and easily avoided the government laws. The Spanish colonists who came to Mexico in the year 1520, taught the Indians and half caste the Merdido system, {the bite}, taught the well, the system thrives within the Latin American countries today. The time situation which effects the Four Corners Story, was when the larger mines such as Leon Trabuco’s, were under some monitoring by the Mexican government and some gold had to be delivered to the federal mints at the Mexican prices of $20.67 per troy ounce.

Trabuco and others often hoarded large segments of their production for reasons that gold was always stable on the world market to purchase any item one may desire. As at present, countries paper monies are always subject to value changing, gold will always remain a buyers stable commodity even if hoarded gold does not accrue interest. It also does not need report to tax officials. It is easy to visualize why Mexican gold hoarders would be interested in selling their gold at a closed market, such as the U.S. at $15 more per ounce than take the chance of getting it to Asia by boat and clandestine control of his valuable products. However violating two countries laws doing the smuggling was the ultimate downfall of the project

 
 

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