Authorities sealed off this Caribbean resort in southeastern Mexico to apprehend members of an armed gang who robbed jewelry stores and other high-end shops at a mall in the hotel district.

"It's not people from here," Mayor Julian Ricalde Magaña told Efe. "It's apparently a large group of some 25 people who came from (the Gulf coast state) of Veracruz to commit the robbery."

The assailants fired their guns inside a Cartier shop to intimidate the sales clerks, but no one was hurt, the management of the Plaza Kukulcan mall said.

The group went on to rob several other stores, but authorities could not confirm reports that the criminals took hostages to facilitate their getaway.

The hostages were later released, according to those accounts.

Salvador Rocha Vargas, the head of public safety in the northern part of Quintana Roo state, said he learned of the robbery a little after 8:00 p.m. Thursday and immediately ordered police to seal the two roads leading into and out of Cancun's seaside hotel district.

"We already have several people in custody. They gave us information about the accomplices and at this point, we practically have the entire city surrounded," he said.

Police also searched several hotels on suspicion that the robbers were posing as a group of tourists.

Cancun is Mexico's No. 1 tourist destination. EFE