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Associated Press

A Mexican drug cartel that kidnapped 4 Americans, killing 2, has apologized in a letter to the surviving victims and the families of the deceased victims.

According to the Associated Press, 5 men were bound and turned over to Mexican police in the back of a pickup truck.

Also found in the pickup truck was an apologetic letter from the leader of the Scorpions faction of the Gulf Cartel. The handwritten letter explained that the men in the truck were responsible for the kidnappings and murders.

Photos of the five bound men accompanied the letter which was provided to the Associated Press by a Tamaulipas state law enforcement source.

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In the letter, the cartel apologized for the murder of a Mexican woman who was killed by a stray bullet when the cartel fired upon a minivan carrying Americans, Latavia “Tay” McGee, her cousin Shaeed Woodard, and friends Zindell Brown and Eric Williams.

“The Gulf Cartel Grupo Escorpiones strongly condemns the events of Friday, March 3 in which unfortunately an innocent working mother died and four American citizens were kidnapped, of which two died,” the letter says. “For this reason, we have decided to hand over those involved and directly responsible for the events who at all times acted under their own will and lack of discipline against the CDG [Gulf Cartel] rules.”

The letter continued: “We apologize to the family of Miss Arely and the rest of the American families.”

McGee, 33, and her friends drove from South Carolina to Matamoros, Mexico for a tummy tuck procedure. Mexican officials said they were innocent victims mistaken for Haitian drug runners.

A woman who traveled with the group, Cheryl Orange, insisted the four friends were in Matamoros for a doctor’s appointment.

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“[McGee] simply went for a cosmetic surgery, and that’s it. That’s all, and this happened to them,” Orange told the Associated Press in a text message.

Orange stayed behind in a motel in Brownsville because she didn’t have an ID. She contacted police when the three men failed to return to the U.S. side of the border after dropping off McGee at a Matamoros clinic.

Chilling video uploaded to the Internet shows the four Americans being thrown into the back of a pickup truck on March 3.

McGee and Williams were found alive early Tuesday, March 7, in a shack about 30 minutes East of Matamoros. Brown and Woodard were found dead in the same shack. McGee and Williams were rushed to a Brownsville hospital for treatment. The bodies of Brown and Woodard were returned to the U.S. on Thursday.

The cartels handed over the five suspects and apologized after South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham introduced legislation to designate Mexican drug cartels as “terrorist organizations” on March 8. Graham said the terrorist designation would authorize the use of military force against the drug cartels in Mexico.

Law enforcement sources told The NY Post that it was strange for a Mexican cartel to shoot at and kidnap Americans in broad daylight. Especially after DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena was kidnapped and tortured by cartel members in 1985.

“Shooting an American is very bad for [cartel] business,” a source said. “The last thing the cartels want is for the FBI and DEA to set up in their city and start investigating them. It brings unwanted attention.”