By JON HAWORTH, ABC News

(LOWELL, Ind.) — 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.

The incident occurred at approximately 11:15 a.m. on Tuesday, March 16, when an Indiana State Police trooper stopped a van for a moving violation near the town of Lowell, Indiana, about 50 miles southeast of Chicago, according to a statement released by the Indiana State Police.

The officer approached the vehicle with police to speak with the driver — later named as 31-year-old Christopher S. Colburn from McKinleyville, California — which subsequently led to an investigation of the exterior of the vehicle, including a canine sniff, that caused the officer to ask about what was inside the van.

“During that search, troopers discovered 38 large boxes and 6 black garbage bags.,” said the Indiana State Police. “The boxes were wrapped in black plastic wrap. Inside the boxes contained a total of 1,264 individually sealed bags, each weighing approximately 1.5 lbs., and contained a green plant material. A field test of the content revealed it to be marijuana.”

Authorities said that a “conservative” estimated street value of their discovery is approximately $5.7 to $8.5 million.

Colburn was arrested on the spot and taken into custody to the Lake County Jail where he was preliminarily charged with dealing marijuana, a Level 5 felony, and possession of marijuana with a prior conviction, a Level 6 felony.

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