Andrew Carter Thornton II (October 30, 1944 – September 11, 1985) was a former narcotics officer and lawyer who became the head member of “The Company”, a drug smuggling ring in Kentucky. The son of Carter and Peggy Thornton of Threave Main Stud farm in southern Bourbon County, Kentucky, Thornton grew up living a privileged life in the Lexington, Kentucky, area and attended the prestigious private Sayre School and the Iroquois Polo Club along with other Lexington blue bloods. He later transferred to Sewanee Military Academy and then joined the army as a paratrooper. After quitting the army, he became a Lexington police officer on the narcotics task force. He then attended the University of Kentucky Law School. During his tenure, he began smuggling.
After resigning from the police in 1977, Thornton practiced law in Lexington.
Four years later, he was among 25 men accused in Fresno, California, in a theft of weapons from the China Lake Naval Weapons Center and of conspiring to smuggle 1,000 pounds of marijuana into the United States. Thornton left California after pleading not guilty and was arrested as a fugitive in North Carolina, wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying a pistol. He pleaded no contest in Fresno to a misdemeanor drug charge and the felony charges were dropped. He was sentenced to six months in prison, fined $500, placed on probation for five years, and had his law license suspended.
On a smuggling run from Colombia, having dumped packages of cocaine off near Blairsville, Georgia, Thornton and a partner jumped from his auto-piloted Cessna 404. In the September 11, 1985, jump, he was caught in his parachute and ended up in a free fall to the ground. His body was found in the driveway of Knoxville, Tennessee, resident Fred Myers. The plane crashed over 60 mi (97 km) away in Hayesville, North Carolina. At the time of his death Thornton was wearing a bulletproof vest and Gucci loafers, and in possession of night vision goggles, a green army duffel bag containing approximately 40 kilos (88 lbs.) of cocaine valued at $15 million, $4,500 in cash, six 0.1 oz (2.8 g). gold Krugerrands, knives, and two pistols. Three months later, a dead black bear was found in the Chattahoochee National Forest that had apparently overdosed on cocaine dropped by Thornton.
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