What do watermelons, sex toys, wigs, potatoes, and one very large bear have in common?
For one, they’d all make truly memorable Valentine’s Day gifts — but more importantly, each has served as a crucial cog in a major drug smuggling ring. Ever since the War On Drugs began in 1914, cartels have been seeking out inventive ways to transport prohibited substances from suppliers to buyers and sellers, and the proper golden age of drug smuggling took place in the ‘70s and ‘80s, when most cartels were hard at work, attempting to move cocaine from the Mountains of South America, to the nostrils of an addict near you.
That’s not to say we’re living in a post-trafficking era, however. The American illicit drugs market is the biggest in the world, worth more than $80 billion annually. Last year alone, Federal authorities intercepted more than 7,000lbs of cocaine (three times the amount intercepted the previous year). And while, throughout the years, there have been countless stories worth sharing re: inventive drug trade tactics — from underground “narco tunnels” to shipments of hair extensions — few are quite so cinematic as that of the “cocaine bear.” In fact, the tale is so inherently dramatic, Universal is spinning it into a major motion picture.
Here’s the gist: In September of 1985, a smuggler named Andrew Thornton II attempted to fly hundreds of kilos of cocaine from Colombia into the United States — a project made that much more feasible by virtue of the fact that he’d worked as a member of the Lexington police force for 9 years… before going on to serve as a narcotics officer (lol!). That said, while sailing over the Midwest, Thornton panicked, thinking authorities were tracking his flight — so he took the only logical course of action: dumping hundreds of pounds of blow down into the forests of Georgia, and parachuting down after them.
Tragically enough, his parachute malfunctioned. Days later, his body was discovered in the woods, along with a few handguns, several wads of cash, and approximately 75-pounds of cocaine. If you’re wondering what happened to the rest of his nose candy, it was found and eaten by one extremely large bear. Then…chaos ensued.
Catch the video below for a more in-depth rehashing of the saga of the BFG (Blow-Fiending-Giant).