Last Updated on March 8, 2023 by Dexter Roona
Today in the AFGeek blog we delve into the real-life story of the Cocaine Bear. An extremely bizarre tale of drug smuggling and wildlife tragedy.
The story of the Cocaine Bear captured the attention of the media world in the 1980s and involves drug smuggling, a wild black bear, and a tragic end that serves as a cautionary tale for us all.
The story begins in September 1985 with a small plane carrying over 70 pounds of cocaine crash-landed in the Chattahoochee National Forest in northern Georgia USA.
The pilot, Andrew Thornton, was a former narcotics police officer who had turned drug smuggler. As part of a drug trafficking operation, he was flying cocaine from Colombia to the United States.
But the trip didn’t go well when Thornton was forced to abandon the plane mid-flight. He jumped from the plane and landed safely using his parachute, but his cargo of several duffel bags filled with cocaine was lost, scattered across the forest floor.
One of those bags remained relatively intact and was discovered by a wild black bear. The bear was foraging for food in the area and mistook the contents of the bag as food. The bear ingested the contents of the bag, which contained high-purity cocaine with the bear sadly succumbing to a lethal drug overdose. The bear’s body was later discovered by authorities. An autopsy was carried out with the results revealing high levels of cocaine in the bear’s system.
The Cocaine Bear Media Sensation
The story of the Cocaine Bear quickly spread, and it became a news media sensation at the time. Newspapers and TV stations around the world reported on the bizarre and tragic story of the drug-smuggling bear.
The story of the Cocaine Bear captivated the public imagination. Some speculated that the bear was in fact already addicted to cocaine after previous encounters with drug smugglers in the area.
A theory that has no evidence in support.
The story has now resurfaced some 38 years later with a new movie adaptation of the story being released with Elizabeth Banks directing and Phil Lord and Chris Miller producing.
The release of the movie the merchandise bandwagon has started to roll. You can now buy Cocaine Bear T-shirts, hats, and Cocaine Bear Funko Pops. You can even cuddle up to plush Cocaine Bear cuddly toys.
But beyond the entertainment value of the story, the tale of the Cocaine Bear serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of drug smuggling. The incident highlights the risks and unfortunate consequences that can arise when people engage in illegal activities, particularly when those activities involve dangerous and addictive substances like cocaine.
Moreover, the story reminds us of the importance of protecting our natural environments and the wildlife that inhabits them.