The Real Story Behind The Upcoming Movie “Cocaine Bear”

Universal Pictures finally released the trailer for “Cocaine Bear” and it left many people wondering: Is it really based on a true story and if so, what parts are true?

As it turns out, the dark comedy movie is loosely based on a true story of a 175-pound black bear who died of a cocaine overdose. In the upcoming movie, the bear is portrayed as terrorizing the Appalachian community but the reality is a bit more tamed.

Photo: YouTube/Universal Pictures

While the trailer may seem far-fetched and like it couldn’t possibly be true, the real story is also hard to believe.

Check out the trailer for yourself below:

According to the Washington Post, the true story of the cocaine bear all started with former Purple Heart recipient and drug trafficker Andrew Carter Thornton II who worked as an officer with Lexington’s Drug Enforcement Administration. He began selling the drugs collected as evidence and it wasn’t long before he was leading a massive drug ring.

In fact, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports that Thornton II used the skills he learned in the military to start flying drugs out of Columbia.


That all ended in 1985 when the crooked cop took his final flight with 400 kilos of cocaine from Columbia to Kentucky. When he learned DEA agents were tracking him, he began throwing the millions of dollars worth of cocaine out of the plane before jumping from the plane with a parachute and as much cocaine as he could carry. In the end, his parachute malfunctioned and he didn’t survive the jump.

As it turns out, a black bear ended up finding some of the cocaine that was tossed from the plane over Georgia that day and ate it. Later dubbed “Pablo Escobear,” the bear was found dead by officials who were searching for the missing cociane.

Photo: Flickr/daddyboskeazy License: Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

In a 1985 interview with The Associated Press, Gary Garner of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said: “There’s nothing left but bones and a big hide.”

According to the RollingStone, an autopsy showed the bear’s “stomach was literally packed to the brim with cocaine.”

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Shiv’s fotografia License: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International

Unlike the movie’s portrayal of a bear who went on a cocaine-fueled killing spree, the real Pablo Escobear likely died quickly after consuming so much cocaine.

Still, the “Cocaine Bear” movie does feature real details about what happened but with a dark, exaggerated twist. If you’re interested in watching it for yourself, the movie set to release in February of 2023.

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