Would a bear that swallowed a brick of cocaine go on a rampage attacking a group of rightly terrified people? This is the pitch of the film Cocaïne Bear which will be released in February 2023:
“A wacky group of cops, criminals, tourists and teenagers converge in a Georgia forest where a 500-pound black bear is on a murderous rampage after unwittingly ingesting cocaine. »
But beyond the scenario that Jean-Jacques Annaud could have written for Hyper Tension (Rank with Jason Statham), Cocaine Bear is inspired by a true story.
The true story of the cocaine addicted bear
A 1985 Associated Press (AP) article, simply titled “Cocaine and Dead Bear,” reports that a 150-pound black bear died in Georgia of a cocaine overdose after consuming an unidentified amount of coke dropped from a plane piloted by a convicted drug dealer.
The trafficker died later while parachuting and carrying too heavy a load. “The call was received by an elderly man who called the switchboard to say that there was someone in his garden and that he did not seem to be moving, and that they had to send the police on site to see what was going on,” an investigator in the original case told WGN radio.
Quoting an official from Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), a longer AP article describes the deceased as a former Kentucky narcotics investigator who fell to his death in Tennessee.
As for the bear, investigators were searching for the fallen cocaine in mountains nearly 130 miles north of Atlanta and just south of the Tennessee border when they discovered “a torn shipment of the scent powder and the remains of a bear”.
“The bear took care of it before us, he tore up the duffel bag, took cocaine and overdosed,” the GBI official reportedly said. “All that’s left are bones and big skin,” he noted, adding that it looked like the animal had been dead for about a month.
The duffel bag and 40 packets containing approximately one kilogram of cocaine that had been torn open and strewn on a hillside were discovered near the bear’s remains. At the time, authorities estimated the 40 kilograms of coke could be worth up to US$20 million, adding that three such discoveries involving identical duffel bags had been made in Georgia.
The bear, plane, pilot and cargo were found in various locations, the AP reports. The bear’s remains were discovered in Georgia, the smuggler’s body in Tennessee and his unmanned Cessna plane, which hit a mountain, in North Carolina.
Now stuffed, the bear, which has been named Pablo Eskobear, is a tourist attraction in Lexington’s “Kentucky For Kentucky” store.