Members of the Multi Agency Narcotics Squad intended to bust up a drug deal Friday and instead ended up with 3 pounds of Epsom salts.
"Basically they were trying to rip us off," Lt. Scott Ware said. "We had information they were going to bring 3 pounds of methamphetamines to sell at $18,500 a pound."
Undercover agents met with three suspects at the BP Station on Golden Parkway around 12:30 p.m. Friday. They showed the money, and the suspects displayed what was believed to be meth.
Thomas Delacruz and Ricky Escobedo ran when they realized the drug deal was a police sting, Ware said.
Thomas Delacruz, 26, Miguel Delacruz, 24, and Escobedo, 30, all of Buford, were arrested and booked at the Hall County Jail.
All three were charged with possession of imitation controlled substance with the intent to distribute.
Thomas Delacruz and Escobedo also were charged with obstruction. Escobedo was also charged with use of a communications device to facilitate a drug transaction.
"It happens occasionally," Ware said of the imitation controlled substance charge. "More times than not it's real drugs. They don't think there's any repercussions."
Ware was unsure of the sentence the three men face for the charges but said possession of imitation controlled substance is a felony.
Had the Epsom salts actually been methamphetamine, Ware said, the price the suspects were asking would have been an accurate value. In total, the 3 pounds would have been worth somewhere around $55,000.
He said the BP Station was chosen for the drug bust because of its location in the south end of the county.
"When we deal with people coming from the Atlanta area, that's about as far south as we can go without leaving Hall County," he said.