Two truckloads of gold ingots have been unearthed from the ruins of the World Trade Center and were removed under armed guard by federal agents, the New York Daily News reported Wednesday.
The paper, quoting unidentified sources and workers at the site, said the gold was found in a delivery tunnel under the complex that was destroyed on September 11.
Financial officers with the New York Mercantile Exchange said last month that there is some $240 million in gold and silver bars backing up contracts trading on the market in the rubble of the twin towers.
The Toronto-based Bank of Nova Scotia, whose Scotia Mocatta Depository Corp operates the vaults and guarantees their safety, assured NYMEX earlier this month that the piles of precious metals were in good hands.
The Daily News said a "small army" of federal agents supervised the removal by police and firefighters of the buried treasure, loading it into two armored trucks late Tuesday night.
Construction workers had dug for the gold for the past few days, the paper said, adding that when they approached their goal, FBI and Secret Service agents closed in and restricted access to the area.
"If I tried to go down there, they would have shot me," one worker told the paper.
The FBI, police and City Hall refused Wednesday to confirm or deny the report.