Kentucky shop with Cocaine Bear merch anticipating release of inspired movie

'Cocaine Bear' set to come to life on the big screen
Published: Nov. 28, 2022 at 11:08 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - It’s a story that is stranger than fiction, but has been the inspiration behind a horror film set to be released in early 2023.

The story of Cocaine Bear is that of a black bear found dead in Georgia in 1985 after ingesting 40 kilos of cocaine.

It is believed Andrew Thornton, a former Lexington narcotics investigator turned drugged smuggler, dropped the drugs out of a plane while flying back from Colombia. He died that night when he later jumped out of the plane, and his parachute did not deploy. His body was found in the driveway of a home in Knoxville. He was wearing a bullet proof vest, night vision goggles, and a duffel bag with 75 pounds of cocaine. At the time, the cocaine was worth about $15 million.

The bear was found about three months later, was preserved, and has been owned by a few different people, including Waylon Jennings. Now Cocaine Bear, also known as Pablo EskoBear, lives in Lexington at popular shop, Kentucky for Kentucky.

“It’s wonderful,” said Toni Cannon. “We love it. People write in all the time. They are fascinated by the story.”

The shop has a line of Cocaine Bear merchandise from hats, shirts, puzzles, and more.

People have come from all over the world to see the bear.

“It’s so fun hearing people come in, and they’re always so excited to see him. They’re like, ‘Is this really him?’ And it is. Sometimes people don’t believe us.”

The story behind the bear has inspired a horror film set to be released in February 2023. Monday, a promotional poster for the movie was released.

The plot is slightly different from actual events. According to Deadline, “The movie finds an oddball group of cops, criminals, tourists and teens converging in a Georgia forest where a 500-pound apex predator has ingested a staggering amount of cocaine and gone on a coke-fueled rampage for more blow … and blood.”

Kentucky for Kentucky anticipates demand for their merchandise will go up once the movie is released.

The movie will be released in theaters, and is rated R.