KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Cocaine Bear has been one of the most talked about movies of 2023. Now, a new documentary is telling the wild true story of the drug smuggler who parachuted to his death in Knoxville and brought the stranger-than-fiction tale to light.
A documentary titled Cocaine Bear: The True Story is now streaming on Peacock, recounting the true story of a former narcotics investigator-turned-drug runner Andrew Thornton whose ill-fated 1985 smuggling attempt led to the cocaine-induced death of a bear in northern Georgia and his untimely death outside of a Knoxville home when his parachute failed to deploy.
Former Knox County Sheriff Jimmy ‘JJ’ Jones features heavily in the 51-minute documentary. Jones was a Knox County Sheriff’s Office detective when Thornton was found dead in the driveway of a house near Knoxville’s Island Home Airport on Sept. 11, 1985.
“It was almost like a movie,” Jones said in a WATE interview on Dec. 1. “You wouldn’t believe it; it seemed too good to be true.”
The true events-inspired horror comedy movie about a 500-pound black bear ingesting cocaine and going on a murderous rampage in a Georgia forest, has grossed more than $80 million at the box office since its release on Feb. 24.