More than a dozen people from Nova Scotia and Quebec have been arrested on drug charges after a five-month-long criminal investigation in the Annapolis Valley.

A total of 16 people were charged — three people from Quebec and 13 Nova Scotians. RCMP said they face a variety of charges including conspiracy to traffic, trafficking and possession for the purpose of trafficking.

Two of the Nova Scotians are considered "top dogs" of the local drug trade in the Annapolis Valley, said Staff Sgt. Roddie Macdonald, RCMP Federal Drug Co-ordinator in Nova Scotia.

"By partnering our federal and provincial resources, we are able to focus our efforts on the 'top dogs' of the local drug trade in the Valley," Macdonald said in a statement.

"By concentrating at this level, we can stop the drugs before they end up on our streets and ultimately have a more significant, long lasting impact on eliminating drug trafficking and overall community safety."

The accused range in age from 31 years old to 64 years old. Nine of the Nova Scotians — eight men and one woman — are scheduled to appear in Kentville provincial court on Thursday.

The seven other people were charged earlier in the investigation, between August and October.

Police said among the items seized were: 10,000 methamphetamine tabs, approximately 28 grams of cocaine, 4.5 kilograms of marijuana, 12 cartons of illegal cigarettes, weapons and $22,000 in cash.

Police say this is the largest bust of methamphetamine in Nova Scotia's history.

"I have met with and know families that continue to be significantly impacted by addiction, illness and in some cases, death by the abuse of illegal and prescription drugs," Kentville Police Chief Mark Mander told reporters on Thursday.

"Those families can find comfort in the fact that 16 people involved in trafficking drugs throughout our communities will face a judge and be held accountable for their criminal activity."

There has been a focus on drug use — both street drugs and prescription drugs — in rural Nova Scotia communities in the last year. Mander himself sent a letter to provincial health officials calling drug-related deaths an "unspoken pandemic of Nova Scotia."

Since then, charges have been laid in the deaths of Katanna MacDonald and Joshua Graves, who both died after overdosing on prescription drugs.