Cocaine Bear: The True Story of an Infamous Bear Who Consumed a Duffel Bag Filled with Cocaine
Ohen Georgia investigators came across the infamous cocaine bear in 1985, his cause of death was undeniable.
The 175-pound black bear was found next to a duffel bag that had already been filled with more than 70 pounds of cocaine before being thrown from a drug dealer’s plane.
Except now it’s been torn apart with 40 empty packets strewn near the carcass of the overdosed animal.
Now the wild tale of the cocaine bear has been treated like a Hollywood thriller and turned into a movie directed by actress and director Elizabeth Banks.
The film stars Keri Russell from Americans, as well as an ensemble cast that includes her husband Matthew Rhys, Margo Martindale, O’Shea Jackson Jr, Alden Ehrenreich and Jesse Tyler Ferguson.
And it also features one of the last cinematic performances of Freedmen actor Ray Liotta, who died while filming the film Dangerous waters in the Dominican Republic in May.
cocaine bear hits theaters on February 24, 2023.
The predator’s cocaine, worth an estimated $15 million, was dropped from a plane in 1985 by drug trafficker Andrew Thornton, the son of wealthy Kentucky horse ranchers.
Thornton, a former narcotics attorney and police officer, had been on a cocaine smuggling run in a Cessna from Colombia and was dropping off packages in northern Georgia.
According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, Thornton died when he jumped from the plane and “banged his head against the tail of the plane” and failed to open his parachute.
When her body was found in a neighborhood alley in Knoxville, Tennessee, Thornton was wearing night vision goggles, body armor and Gucci loafers.
Thornton, 40, also had $4,500 cash on him, two pistols, several knives and an airplane key.
The unoccupied plane he was piloting was later found crashed several hours away in the mountains of North Carolina and when authorities retraced the plane’s flight path and discovered nine duffel bags filled with cocaine.
Three months after Thornton’s death, the dead bear and the tenth duffel bag were found south of the Tennessee-Georgia border in the Chattahoochee National Forest.
But that was not the end of the bear’s amazing story.
Now stuffed, the bear, which was named Pablo Eskobear after Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, is an unlikely tourist attraction at the “Kentucky For Kentucky” shopping store in Lexington, Kentucky.
They got their hands on it after an exhaustive search across the country and detail its bizarre history on their website.
“His stomach was literally filled to the brim with cocaine. There’s not a mammal on the planet that could survive that,” the medical examiner who performed the bear’s autopsy told the founders of the business.
“Cerebral hemorrhage, respiratory failure, hyperthermia, renal failure, heart failure, stroke. You name it, this bear had it.
The bear was eventually taxidermied by officials and donated to the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, where it was put on display at a visitor center.
It was then stored during a forest fire, before ending up in a Nashville pawn shop. From there it was purchased by country music star Waylon Jennings, who gifted it to a friend in Las Vegas.
When friend Ron Thompson died in 2009, his estate was auctioned off and Cocaine Bear was purchased by Chinese immigrant Zhu T’ang for $200.
When Mr. T’ang died in 2012, the owners of Kentucky For Kentucky contacted his widow and she agreed to give them Cocaine Bear, if they paid for his shipment.
The bear is now a social media star in its own right at the company’s site at the Kentucky Fun Mall in Lexington.
The Cocaine Bear movie is based on an untitled screenplay written by Jimmy Warden and was produced by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who directed The Lego Movie.
Cocaine Bear will be Banks’ third feature after the last directing charlie’s angels in 2019 and Perfect 3 in 2015.
The Independent Gt