March 10, 2021

“PABLO ESCOBEAR!” Who is Cocaine Bear? Kentucky legend is being made into a movie directed by Elizabeth Banks.

The bear was the victim of a fatal overdose that occurred when it ate a cache of cocaine that Andrew Thornton, a former Lexington narcotics officer turned drug smuggler, threw out over North Georgia.

Thornton was carrying $15 million in cocaine when he died parachuting out of a plane over Knoxville in September 1985. That saga is chronicled in Sally Denton’s 1989 book, “The Bluegrass Conspiracy.”

The 175-pound bear’s body was found several months after Thornton’s and preserved with taxidermy. It was passed among various owners until it eventually was acquired by the operators of Lexington-based retailer Kentucky for Kentucky.

A kooky television ad featuring the bear, which has been dubbed Pablo Escobear, made headlines five years ago.

And Escobear is still enjoying fame.

Banks has to work in a cameo of Miami Vice’s Elvis the Alligator alongside Cocaine Bear.

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