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The bizarre story of the cocaine bear – who will make a movie

The bizarre story of the cocaine bear – who will make a movie

It became known as Pablo Escobear and will be the center of Elizabeth Banks’ new film.

35 years after the caricature tragedy, the life and especially the death of a bear in the North American state of Kentucky. The animal became known as the cocaine bear – or Pablo Escobear, for pun lovers.

The discovery came in 1985 when local researchers came across the body of a bear in the middle of a nature park. Next to him an amazing discovery: a destroyed and empty pocket. Wherever traces of white powder were later discovered was cocaine.

This is the moment when the story is born that actress and director Elizabeth Banks will turn into a movie. The woman who directed Charlie’s Angels in 2019 returns to the director’s seat in a film written by Jimmy Warden. The story will revolve around the bear. And the name of the film has already been chosen and does not rely on great artistry: “Urso da Cocaína”.

However, there are even more details to discover in this bizarre series of events. It all starts with a man named Andrew Thornton, son of a family of successful Kentucky horse breeders.

Thornton is the origin of the legend

Thornton graduated from law school and practiced. He also worked as a cop attached to the narcotics division – at least until he switched to the other side of the law and became a drug dealer. On board his plane, he made runways between northern Georgia and Colombia, from where he brought many kilos of cocaine with him.
One of these trips in 1985 did not go as planned. It is not known for certain what will have happened, but Thornton already began dumping bags of drugs on the route on American soil.

At some point he would have put his parachute on, and with no one at the controls, he risked jumping off the device. It is believed that he was hit by the aircraft while jumping and this prevented him from activating the device. He freefalled and died.

The body was discovered in the garage of a house in Knoxville, Tennessee. Thornton was armed with night vision goggles, a bulletproof vest, five thousand euros in cash, two guns, knives, the key to the plane, and a pair of Gucci shoes.

The body fell in a residential area

The Cessna he commanded was later spotted in the mountainous region of North Carolina and crashed several hours away. On the way, the authorities found bags of cocaine. There were at least nine.

One of them was found by the 80 kilogram black bear who was curious about the find. When investigators found the body, they found that the cocaine was gone. The animal opened the 40 packs and devoured about 30 kilos of drugs.

The cause of death was obvious: a cocaine overdose. The autopsy revealed a catastrophic scenario including cerebral haemorrhage, respiratory, heart and kidney failure, tachycardia and stroke.

“The stomach literally filled with cocaine. There is no mammal on the planet that could survive something like this, ”revealed the doctor who examined the corpse.

The bear’s tragic end was only the beginning of his greatest adventure. He was embalmed and named Pablo Escobear in honor of the famous Colombian drug dealer. It quickly became the top tourist attraction in a small grocery store in Lexington, Kentucky.

It didn’t stop there. The Coca Bear was eventually donated to a visitor center on the Chattahoochee River where it was on display before it was stored due to a forest fire. It ended up with no honor in a pawn shop in Nashville, where it was bought by country star Waylon Jennings.

The pins are just a few of the merchandise created for Pablo Escobear

Calm down, there’s more: the musician offered it to Ron Thompson, a friend, on a crazy night in Las Vegas. When he died in 2009, his fortune was auctioned off and Pablo Escobear ended up in the hands of a Chinese immigrant for a modest amount of 200 euros.

The new owner would also die in 2012. It was then that Kentucky for Kentucky, an organization that promotes the US state, contacted the woman who had inherited the fortune. Upon request, he agreed to donate the embalmed bear – as long as he did not have to pay shipping costs – which was later used as a tourist landmark.

Today there are dozens of merchandising items that use the image of Pablo Escobear, from mugs to t-shirts. The bear is on display in the Kentucky for Kentucky store in Lexington.


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