Authorities Crack Down on Alleged Counterfeit Laundry Detergent

Recent raids by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department turned up more than 400 buckets of seemingly phony detergents in the L.A. area.
7:00 | 06/23/16

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Transcript for Authorities Crack Down on Alleged Counterfeit Laundry Detergent
You've heard of counterfeit couture, fake Rolex, but what about alleged dirty dealings with laundry detergents. ABC's nick watt with the latest on the investigation. We need to be quick and thorough and hit them hard. California morning, officers. They're not after drugs, weapons, moon shine. Oh, no. Today the L.A. County sheriff's department is on the scent of dodgy detergent, and hidden among a reportedly stolen speedboat and coffee pots, buckets and buckets of apparently counterfeit tide. In the office fake labels for fake gain? Do you think this mht be the distribution center? It is. Reporter: Tide in five gallon buckets. Why do we think it's fake? There's no such thing here. Reporter: No such product? They don't make this. Reporter: We don't sell tide in five gallon buckets. It's sent of the lab to find out what it is if it ain't tide. The risks are quite large. We just don't know. You don't know where it came from. It would be like putting your family in a car that you had no idea who made it or where it came from. Reporter: We'll follow that trail in a minute. Counterfeiting, they say, is a nearly $500 billion a year business. Hundreds and hundreds of labels. The past year alone Procter & gamble has helped identify and close 50 factories, cranking out counterfeit goods. Be safe. Reporter: Today the boys in blue now have a nearby address, one step closer, they hope, to the Mr. Big to another factory. When we find the source of this, we're going to find some kind of organized criminal organization. Reporter: I'm riding with a veteran lieutenant, Jeffrey deidric. My body is trashed. I've had knee surgeries, broken this hand three times. Reporter: From stuff on the job? Yeah. Reporter: He now has the L.A. County sheriff's counterfeit and piracy team. Laundrydetergent. I don't get it. If we have cocaine, we're nervous. They're driving around van loads of this stuff every day like nothing. If you made as much money selling counterfeit tide as heroin, what would you choose? The tide. You're not going to do 40 years in prison. Reporter: The math, investigators say does something like this. They buy the stuff for $5 a bucket and we found it for sale online for five times that. $35. Within 20 miles of where I am, I'm being offered fake tide by one, two, three, four, four different sellers. We started seeing this really escalate starting about a year ago. It's showing up all over the place, and the social media is the enabler. Reporter: In places like Texas, Illinois, Manhattan, where we found this ad offering samples and a free laundry bag with the purchase of six gallons. If the product comes in a five gallon bucket, that's a huge tipoff that the product is illegal counterfeit. We don't sell product in five gallon buckets to the public. Reporter: They also don't sell downy or gain in gave gallon buckets. So this, this, and this, they way, must be fake. Detergent seized in California has been analyzed here at Procter & gamble's lab in Cincinnati. It actually looks and smells kind ofdetergent. It had very high water content. Reporter: Make but effective. This is a chocolate pudding tan. This is the same stain that gets washed in water. This was washed in the counterfeit detergent, and this was washed in the tide liquid. When you use the counterfeit deter jenlt, you can see that it's not that much different than just using water by itself. We're here to discuss the impact of counterfeits on consumer health and safety. Reporter: A proct & gamble executive recently testified in front of congress. Counterfeiting is consumer fraud. Reporter: The company is fighting back, hunting down leads and handing their findings to law enforcement. We realized this was something that it was -- that we couldn't handle ourselves. But we were really concerned about what kind of fraud was happening here with our consumers. We get tips from the community. We get tips from private

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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