Why on Earth is Cocaine Shark trending on Twitter?

Ayaan Paul
Ayaan PaulFeb 09, 2023 | 14:41

Why on Earth is Cocaine Shark trending on Twitter?

In the largest drug bust in New Zealand’s history, authorities have seized more than three tonnes of cocaine that was wrapped into 81 bales and cached at a floating transit point in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. However, the news is trending for very different reasons.

According to reports, the cache, which is said to be worth $315 million, is big enough to supply New Zealand for 30 years and the Australian market for a year. The cocaine, which came from South America and was bound for Australia, weighed 3.2 metric tonnes, or 3.5 tonnes in the US.


It didn’t take long for the Internet to catch on, with #CocaineShark trending on Twitter soon after - a reference to an incident that bore striking resemblance to the events.

The infamous "Cocaine Bear" incident of 1985.... A story that has it all: drugs, bears and an unfortunate addition to a mall in Kentucky.

It all started when a small plane, carrying around 81 kilos of cocaine, crashed in the Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee. Former American narcotics officer and Kentucky-based drug smuggler, Andrew C Thornton II, was trafficking cocaine from Colombia into the United States when he was forced to ditch his powdery cargo into the wilderness. Ironically, he died shortly after when his parachute failed to deploy.

The authorities soon discovered that a black bear had stumbled upon the abandoned drugs, and had (unsurprisingly) taken a liking to the cocaine. For a few brief moments of coke-fuelled ecstasy, the 75-pound bear was probably the apex predator on the planet, having consumed over 34 kilos of cocaine before dropping dead.


The chief medical examiner from the Georgia State Crime Lab, Dr Kenneth Alonso, stated that its stomach was "literally packed to the brim with cocaine". The effects of the coke however, were apparently not limited to the poor bear it seems as the doctor in his infinite wisdom, decided to taxidermy the bear and put it on display at the nearby Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. 

Yes, you heard that right: a stuffed, cocaine-fuelled bear was on display for years, and became somewhat of a tourist attraction.

The country singer Waylon Jennings eventually bought it, and the bear made its way to the Kentucky Fun Mall in Lexington, Kentucky where it remains to this day.

The 'Cocaine Bear' in Kentucky Fun Mall, Kentucky, US. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

And if this wasn’t enough, guess what’s hitting theatres later this month?

A Universal Pictures-sanctioned dramatisation of events will star Keri Russell, O'Shea Jackson Jr, Alden Ehrenreich, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and the late actor Ray Liotta’s final on-screen role. Directed by Elizabeth Banks, the film takes creative liberties and will follow its titular character on its coke-fuelled killing rampage across town.

With social media already calling for a follow-up to the upcoming film, it seems some sequels just write themselves...


With a surplus of drug-fuelled predators making headlines, who knows what could be next?

Cocaine Bear is scheduled to release in Indian theatres on February 24, 2023.

Last updated: February 09, 2023 | 14:41
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