By now, you must have seen the trailer for Elizabeth Banks’ survival horror comedy, Cocaine Bear coming in 2023.
If you haven’t yet, check it out here.
However, did you know the story of the cocaine bear was inspired by true events? Back in September 1985, police investigating a drug smuggling case came across the body of one Andrew Carter Thornton II in a driveway in Knoxville, Tennessee. Thornton was heavily armed, wearing a bulletproof vest with thousands of dollars in cash on him. the officers also found about 77 pounds of cocaine in a duffel bag strapped around his waist (the cocaine, valued at around $14 million).
According to the authorities, Thornton had died when his parachute failed to open after he jumped from his plane. The plane was found 60 miles away from where his body lay.
That wasn’t all, the investigators also found a duffle bag in Georgia’s Chattahoochee–Oconee National Forest deduced to have fallen off Thornton’s plane as well. The bag originally contained a kilogram of cocaine, or about 88 pounds in all, valued to be worth as much as $20 million at the time but had been ripped to shreds.
A large 175-pound black bear was found dead nearby and according to an Associated Press article from 1985, officials believed the bear had eaten “several million dollars worth of the cocaine.”
The chief medical examiner at the Georgia State Crime Lab who performed the bear’s necropsy (an autopsy for an animal) told the Kentucky for Kentucky Fun Mall that the bear’s stomach was “literally packed to the brim with cocaine”.
“Its stomach was literally packed to the brim with cocaine. There isn’t a mammal on the planet that could survive that. Cerebral hemorrhaging, respiratory failure, hyperthermia, renal failure, heart failure, stroke. You name it, that bear had it.”