If you haven’t heard about Cocaine Bear, you will soon. The story of a black bear that stumbled upon a stash of cocaine in the 1980s has captured the attention of Hollywood and true-crime enthusiasts alike. And now, this bizarre and unforgettable tale is getting the big-screen treatment everywhere February 24th, 2023.
It’s important to keep in mind that while the origin story of the Cocaine Bear is grounded in factual events, the idea of the bear going on a wild, drug-fueled rampage is purely a product of Hollywood’s imagination. There is no evidence to suggest that the bear exhibited any sort of violent behavior towards humans after consuming the drugs.
Cocaine Bear: The Bizarre Story of a Black Bear’s Encounter with Drug Smuggling
In the early hours of September 11th, 1985, a Cessna 404 aircraft took off from Colombia, carrying Andrew Thornton and his team of smugglers. They had just completed their mission to smuggle a large quantity of cocaine from South America to the United States. But due to unforeseen circumstances, the landing in Georgia was not going to be smooth.
Drug Smuggler Andrew Thornton
Approaching the airport, Thornton was flying too low and had to release some of the 40 plastic containers of cocaine weighing a total of 70 pounds, in order to make the landing safer. Thornton threw the containers out of the plane, hoping to recover them later. The pilot then attempted to land the plane in a nearby meadow, but while trying to escape from law enforcement, he fell from the plane and died.
The containers, however, fell in the Chattahoochee National Forest in northern Georgia. One of them broke open, scattering its contents across the ground.
A few days later, a black bear was spotted in the same forest. The animal had wandered into the area and stumbled upon one of the containers of cocaine. The bear consumed the contents of the container and suffered a fatal overdose.
While the movie Cocaine Bear may suggest otherwise, there is no concrete evidence to suggest that the bear’s post-cocaine activities involved violence towards humans. In fact, no one was harmed by the bear, despite its likely disorientation and erratic behavior due to the effects of the drug.
The Real “Cocaine Bear”
The bear’s body was discovered by hikers two days later. Officials recovered the remaining 39 containers of cocaine that Thornton had thrown out of the plane, valued at more than $15 million.
The incident caught the attention of the media and soon became a national sensation. The bear’s remains were preserved and became a tourist attraction at the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area’s museum in Georgia. Visitors flocked to see the Cocaine Bear, and it became a symbol of the bizarre and unexpected events that can occur in the world.
The story of the Cocaine Bear has continued to capture the public’s imagination over the years. It has been the subject of numerous retellings, including a book by author Kevin Maher, a podcast, and even a song by musician Ruston Kelly.
Most recently, it has inspired a Hollywood movie, with Elizabeth Banks Directing and Keri Russell starring. Titled Cocaine Bear, the movie will tell the story of a group of hikers who discover the bear’s remains and get entangled in the dark world of drug smuggling.
The tragic and bizarre story of the Cocaine Bear is a tale that has captured the public’s imagination and will continue to fascinate people for years to come.