The RCMP say a major drug ring has been busted in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, following a five-month investigation into the region’s drug trade.

Yesterday, police arrested and charged nine people with numerous drug charges.

"They proclaim themselves as being the top dogs of the area and we believe that they are,” says Staff Sgt. Roddie Macdonald, the RCMP’s federal drug co-ordinator in Nova Scotia.

“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.”

Police say a total of 16 people from Annapolis and Kings counties have now been charged with a variety of drug offences in connection with the five-month drug investigation, plus three people from Quebec.

The investigation involved RCMP and local police, and targeted drug trafficking in Annapolis and Kings counties.

Police say the investigation started as a result of information that came in through community members. They say people were upset by suspected drug activity in their area and called police to let them know what was happening.

Investigators say the drugs came from Quebec and were destined for communities in Annapolis County.

They made several seizures over the past five months, which include:

  • 10,000 tabs of methamphetamine
  • 10 pounds marijuana
  • one ounce of cocaine
  • $22,000 in cash
  • 12 cartons of illegal cigarettes
  • several unsecured firearms
  • two-vehicles

“I can't put a dollar value on it,” says Macdonald. “All I can tell you is that the impact of these individuals being arrested is quite significant to the area."

“A seizure of this size, combined with the arrests of these individuals, will not only disrupt the supply of drugs through Kings County, but also in Annapolis County,” says RCMP Insp. Mike Payne.

Police say the seizure of methamphetamine tabs is the largest seizure of methamphetamine in Nova Scotia history.

“If these things get out of hand with usage it can cause a lot of crime, a lot of social issues, and a lot of health issues and even…death,” says Staff Sgt. John Dewinter.

Area residents say they are pleased to hear of the arrests and seizures in their community.

“I think there is definitely a huge issue in the Valley and I’m glad their five-month investigation bore some results,” says Judie Bell.

“Prescription medication has also been a real issue in the Valley so anything like that is a definite plus for sure,” says Ed Hewins.

The following individuals are charged with conspiracy to traffic in a variety of narcotics.

  • Andre (Andy) Laviolette, 53, West Dalhousie
  • Trevor Durling, 32, Lequille
  • Bernard Brown, 36, Kings County
  • Sean Cluett, 42, Wilmot
  • Amanda Mahaney, 33, Kentville
  • Stephen Mahaney, 39, Kentville
  • Gerald Phillips, 60, Mount Hanley
  • Stephen Phillips, 40, Mount Hanley
  • John Cassar, 50, Annapolis County

Police say eight individuals appeared in Kentville provincial court Thursday. They have all been released on conditions and are due back in court January.

They also say the investigation into the region’s drug trade is ongoing and further arrests are anticipated.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Jacqueline Foster