In 1985 a drug smuggler jettisoned 40 kilograms (76 pounds) of cocaine from his airplane over Georgia’s Chattahoochee National Forest. A black bear (later dubbed ‘Pablo EskoBear’) found and ate ALL of the cocaine and died of an inconceivably massive overdose.

The ‘Cocaine Bear’ on display in Lexington, Kentucky (Image: Kentucky by Kentucky)

Back in 1985, a former narcotics-officer-turned-drug-kingpin called Andrew Thornton abandoned an aeroplane mid-flight across the USA. Thornton had been flying a drug route from Colombia and had dropped off 40 plastic containers full of cocaine in Chattahoochee National Forest. Unfortunately for Thornton, he became tangled up in his parachute and fell to his death in Knoxville, Tennessee. When police traced his route back through the forest, they expected to find a cache of drugs worth $15 million. Instead, they found 40 open containers and one very dead black bear . The as-yet-unnamed black bear had suffered possibly the worst overdose in drugs history.

“Its stomach was literally packed to the brim with cocaine. There isn’t a mammal on the planet that could survive that,” explained the medical examiner who performed the bear’s necropsy. “Cerebral hemorrhaging, respiratory failure, hyperthermia, renal failure, heart failure, stroke. You name it, that bear had it,” he told Kentucky for Kentucky. After the autopsy it was taxidermied and began a journey through various different owners including, reportedly, the country and western signer Waylon Jennings.

The plaque hung around the neck of Kentucky’s ‘Cocaine Bear’ (Image: Kentucky by Kentucky)


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