Cocaine Bear True Story: A ‘High’ Rampage

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Cocaine Bear, Pablo EskoBear
Cocaine Bear at Kentucky's Funtown Mountain, Credit: The NY Times

Cocaine Bear! are you also astonished by the name? It is the name of an upcoming movie based on a true story. Movies based on true stories always famish us with rich content, especially those based on the ‘high’ stuff. You might already know what cocaine does and how crazy bears can be.

Bears on cocaine that’s guaranteed to be on a different level. If you follow stories from the second half of the 20th century, the production of cocaine was at an all-time high, especially between the 1980s and 1999.

It wasn’t just the production; consumption too was at an all-time high. This made cocaine a terrifying issue for the government since its consumption among the youth was exponentially increasing because it was illegal to sell and buy cocaine for drug abuse, gangs like cartels and mafias used to supply it using innovative and different smuggling techniques to transfer cocaine.

To better understand how it all worked, you should watch shows like Narcos, The Sopranos, Ozark, Pablo Escobar, and Breaking Bad. For now, take my word when I say it was an enormous industry. It was necessary to mention this to help you better understand the Cocaine Bear incident.

Cocaine Bear: The True Story

The cocaine bear story begins with Andrew Carter Thornton Second. Andrew was a police officer and a lawyer before he got into the cocaine business. He was found dead on September 11th, 1985, in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Thornton was smuggling cocaine through a plane; it seems as if the plane suffered some malfunctions, due to which he had to jump from it. It is unclear, but because of the heavy load while parachuting, things went rough, and he died in action.

When he was found, his body had $4,500 in cash, two guns, keys to the plane, and several knives. But before the plane went off towards the Atlantic ocean, between 75-85 pounds of cocaine fell out of it or might have been thrown by Thornton. The amount of cocaine was priced somewhere between ($12 million – $15 million). 

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Cocaine Bear
Stills from the Cocaine Bear Movie Adaptation, Credit: IMDb

A 175-pound bear who was around the path of the plane consumed this cocaine, the amount consumed was unclear, but the estimation of cocaine in his bloodstream at the time of its death was 3 -4 grams.

The value wasn’t accurate because the bear was found approximately three weeks after death. A hunter found the dead bear but didn’t report it to the authorities; after three weeks, a fisherman reported it to the GBI. 

Stories propose that the bear also killed people after consuming cocaine, but no such information was or is clear, and probably it won’t be. The bear was named ‘Cocaine Bear’ or ‘Pablo EskoBear.’ Investigators back then thought it would be a waste-to-earth remains, so today, the bear is said to be on display at the Kentucky Fun Mall in Lexington, Kentucky. 

The plane was found crashed somewhere near Clay County. After months of search, an approximation of 300 pounds of cocaine was found in the surrounding area. At this incident, a movie adaptation will also be out in 2023; here’s what we know about it.

Cocaine Bear: The Movie Adaptation

Cocaine Bear will be released on February 24th, 2023. The movie won’t exactly be as true to the story since the truth also isn’t a hundred percent clear.

Universal Pictures would produce the black comedy thriller, and it is co-produced by Elizabeth Banks, with the script from Jimmy Warden. The story is set in the town of Georgia, where the people of the town and tourists face the black bear of its murder rampage, trying to contain or kill it.

Cocaine Bear
Stills from Cocaine Bear Movie, Credit: IMDb

The movie was announced back in 2019, and on March 9th, 2021, Universal Studios announced that the development had begun. The cast has Keri Russell, Ray Liotta (recent demise in May was a shocker), Scott Seiss, and Kahyun Kim, among many others. Directed by Elizabeth Banks, here’s the trailer released by Universal Pictures.

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By Kshitij Jha

Pursuing Bachelor's in Binge-Watching, that's about it; add night-long Gaming too. Wavering interests and curiosity. Reach out at

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