SAN BERNARDINO (AP) — Southern California authorities say it’s a dirty business and a bizarre trend – drug users trading Tide detergent for crack.

The Riverside Press-Enterprise says it’s a nationwide problem – people are stealing the popular but expensive detergent and trading it for marijuana and crack cocaine.

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San Bernardino police Sgt. Travis Walker says detectives raiding dope houses in recent years were puzzled when they found lots of Tide. Turns out it wasn’t being used to make drugs but to buy them.

Walker says one local supermarket chain reports losing hundreds of dollars worth of Tide each week.

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Retailers say organized gangs have evolved that steal Tide and other household goods by the cartload.

Riverside and San Bernardino officers made 38 theft arrests during a recent operation at local stores.

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