Is Cocaine Bear a True Story? Pablo Eskobear’s Backstory, Explained

I want that stuffed bear in my house.

by Gabriel Rodrigues
Cocaine Bear

Animal horror movies are weird; at first, they seem the worst possible idea, but then you realize you need a movie about snakes killing people inside an airplane. Forget piranhas, crocodiles, and sharks; today, the star is a black bear high out of his mind on cocaine. Even though it’s stupider than usual, Cocaine Bear surprisingly is based on a true story. So let’s check out Pablo Eskobear’s backstory explained.

Cocaine Bear True Events Explained

The 2023 movie Cocaine Bear, directed by Elizabeth Banks, the second movie of the year about a crazy bear killing people, is based on a real story, although less bloody. In Georgia in 1985, police found a 175-pound black bear dead near 40 empty cocaine packets ripped and scattered around the ground, making the animal receive the nickname Pablo Eskobear.

It was later found out that Andrew Thornton, a drug smuggler, and former narcotics officer, was trafficking cocaine from Colombia to the United States. Due to its heavy weight, he dropped a load with 40 containers of cocaine and then jumped off the plane. However, Thornton hit his head and failed to open the parachute, falling to his death.

Thornton’s body was found in a neighborhood in Tenesse with weapons, a key to the plane, and more cocaine while wearing a bullet-proof vest, night-vision goggles, and Gucci loafers. His airplane was also found in North Carolina. The bear was found only 2 months later.

The black bear ate 75 pounds of cocaine, having absorbed 3 or 4 grams into his bloodstream at the time of death. And well, the story should be over around here, right? Wrong. The doctor who performed the bear’s autopsy taxidermied the body and gave it away. Today you can visit the poor bear at Kentucky for Kentucky Fun Mall in Lexington and buy a lot of merch.

Related: Most Anticipated Horror TV Shows of 2023

Did Cocaine Bear Kill Anyone?

As it’s one of the most anticipated horror movies of 2023, and the trailer shows the bear wreaking havoc around a lot of people, you’d expect him to have killed someone. However, Pablo Eskobear died a sweet and innocent bear. There is no proof that the bear killed anyone or went on a disastrous rampage in real life.

The feature changes a lot of other aspects of the investigation, taking many liberties with the real story to turn it into a horror-comedy film.

- This article was updated on February 22nd, 2023