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More Cocaine Found, Believed To Be From Fatal September Shipment

January 16, 1986

JACKSON, Ga. (AP) _ Three duffel bags containing about 250 pounds of cocaine linked to a drug smuggler were found Wednesday in woods on a farm about 50 miles south of Atlanta, authorities said.

The bags matched those carried by former drug agent Andrew Thornton II when he parachuted to his death in Tennessee last September, and eight other duffel bags full of cocaine found scattered across northern Georgia since then, said Charles McMichen, assistant agent in charge of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Atlanta regional drug office.

The cocaine is believed to have been dropped by Thornton before he died. Wednesday’s discovery brings the total found to 760 pounds.

″It appeared that it had been in the woods for a while,″ McMichen said. ″It was on the ground. It had been there long enough the leaves had covered half of the parachute.″

Thornton died when his parachute failed to open after he bailed out of an aircraft over Knoxville, Tenn. His body had 77 pounds of cocaine strapped to it when he was found on a Knoxville driveway Sept. 11.

The shipment found Wednesday ″appeared to be undisturbed,″ McMichen said, unlike some found Dec. 20 in far northern Georgia last month that had been ripped open, apparently by a bear. The carcass of a bear dead about a month was near the remains of an estimated 88 pounds of cocaine.

Another shipment also was found in early November, about 100 yards from where the bear was found.

More recently, a load of cocaine was found in a tree in northwestern Georgia Dec. 28.

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