Berlett and Fiege formed a corporation to
protect what they had found, as well as making a formal application to
enter White Sands for a search and retrieval of the gold.
However, White Sands issued an edict expressly forbidding them to
return to the base. In the summer of 1961, upon the
advice of the Director of the Mint, Major General John Shinkle of
White Sands allowed Captain Fiege, Captain Orby Swanner, Major Kelly
and Colonel Gorman to work the claim. On August 5, Fiege and his
party returned to Victorio Peak, accompanied by the commander of the
Missile Range, a secret service agent, and fourteen military police.
Try as he would, Captain Fiege was unable to penetrate the opening he
had used just three years earlier. General Shinkle finally had enough
and ordered everyone out. Later, Fiege would take a lie detector
test, which would allow Fiege back on the missile range. This time,
the military began a full-scale mining operation at the Peak.
by suspicions that the military was working her claim, Babe Noss hired
four men to surreptitiously enter the range. Though caught
trespassing and escorted from the area, the men reported that they had
observed several men in Army fatigues upon the peak. An
affidavit dated October 28, 1961, was signed to this effect, also
claiming to have seen a military jeep and a weapons carrier on the
mountain. Immediately reporting the activity to Babe Noss, Babe
contacted Oscar Jordan with the
State Land Office, who in turn, contacted the Judge Advocate’s Office
at White Sands. In December 1961, General Shinkle shut down the
operation and excluded anyone from entering the base who was not
directly engaged in the missile research activities.
In 1963, the Gaddis Mining
Company of Denver,
Colorado, under a contract
with the Denver Mint and the Museum of
New Mexico, obtained
permission to work the site. For three months beginning on June
20, 1963, the group used a variety of techniques to search the area;
however, they failed to turn up anything.
In 1972, F. Lee Bailey, became involved in the
dispute, representing some fifty clients including Babe Noss, the Fiege
group, Violet Noss Yancy, Expeditions Unlimited (a Florida based treasure
hunting group), and many others. Reaching a compromise the military
based allowed Expeditions Unlimited, representing all of the claimants to
excavate the peak in 1977. However, the Army placed a two-week time
limit on the group and they had hardly started before they were forced to
leave, without finding anything. The Army then shut down all
operations stating that no additional searches would be allowed.