Indiana State Police on Tuesday announced that they had found more than 1,200 pounds of marijuana worth as much as $8.5 million during a routine traffic stop with the help of a police dog.
Authorities in a press release said they had stopped a van along the highway near the town of Lowell, Indiana, located about 50 miles southeast of Chicago, for a moving violation.
Upon inspecting the vehicle, which police said included a canine sniff, the officers then opened the back of the van, leading them to dozens of large boxes and bags that in total contained 1,264 individually sealed bags of marijuana.
According to the release, police measured approximately 1,275 pounds of marijuana, with a “conservative estimated street value” of anywhere from $5.7 million to $8.5 million.
More than half a ton of marijuana with a street value upwards of $8 million was discovered by a sharp-nosed police dog during a routine traffic stop in northwest Indiana. https://t.co/sCoiRxxTLe
— ABC News (@ABC) March 17, 2021
Police identified the driver as 31-year-old Christopher Colburn from California, who now faces a preliminary Level 5 felony charge of dealing marijuana, as well as a Level 6 felony of possessing marijuana with a prior conviction, according to the release.
Under Indiana state law, a person charged with the sale or cultivation of 10 pounds or more of marijuana can face a punishment of up to six years in prison, with a fine of up to $10,000, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
The arrest comes as marijuana sales across the country have spiked throughout the pandemic. According to a report issued last month by the cannabis information website Leafly, Americans spent 71 percent more last year on marijuana products than they did a year prior.
More states in recent years have adopted a range of laws easing restrictions on