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Paraguay dig for 19th century gold cache belonging to war hero Francisco Solano Lopez is halted
Workers are seen inside a pit in Capiata, 35 km from Asuncion on August 5, 2013 during an operation to find 10.000 kilograms of gold. The gold would have been buried during the War of the Triple Alliance between 1864 and 1870, against Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. On Sunday, people ignored a match in the local football league that was being played just nearby, succumbing instead to gold fever and observation of the landslides. AFP PHOTO/NORBERTO DUARTE.
ASUNCION (AFP).- Tractors filled in an enormous crater in a suburb of the Paraguayan capital Thursday, burying a local man's dream of finding a hoard of hidden gold.

"We couldn't advance and extract the gold because of the bad vibes out there," said a Juan Alberto Diaz, the venture's promoter.

Prosecutors stepped in and put a stop to the huge dig in the Asuncion suburb of Capireta, saying Diaz lacked an environmental permit.

Acting on what he said were historical clues and sophisticated satellite imagery, Diaz began digging last Friday for what he believed was a 2.2 ton cache of gold buried by a 19th century Paraguayan war hero Francisco Solano Lopez.

He had the approval of mayors of the surrounding communities, police and even some lawmakers.

Over the next five days, hundreds of people stopped to watch as his crew excavated a 100 by 30 meter (yard) area.

They dug down 20 meters but water began gushing into the hole.

Then prosecutor Cinthia Lovera charged Diaz with damaging the environment, and ordered him to stop.

She also sent summons to the officials who approved the dig.

© 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse

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