Authorities are warning that Australia has a 'serious epidemic' of drug use [File: Erik Anderson/AAP Image via AP]

Police in Australia say they have seized almost 1.6 tonnes of illicit methylamphetamine hidden in stereo speakers shipped from Thailand, in the biggest ever onshore seizure of the drug commonly known as “ice”.

The Australian Border Force (ABF) said in a statement on Friday that the drugs were detected in vacuum-sealed packages lodged inside the speakers after the arrival of the shipment in Melbourne from Bangkok.

In total, 1.596 tonnes of methylamphetamine and 37 kilograms of heroin were detected, the ABF statement said.

The seized quantity amounted to almost 16 million drug deals, with an estimated street value of $837m, it added.

“This is the largest meth bust we’ve ever seen in this country and demonstrates … the brazen nature of those involved in this criminal activity,” ABF Regional Commander Craig Palmer said.

No arrests were made in connection with the smuggling operation and police appealed to the public for help in their investigations.

In April, Australian authorities seized more than half a tonne of “ice”, hidden in commercial refrigerators imported from Singapore.

Officials in the past have warned that Australia has a “serious epidemic” of drug use with an “insatiable demand” for illicit substances.

[“source=aljazeera”]