MEXICO CITY, March 10 (Xinhua) -- The government of Mexico's central state of Puebla announced Friday that the police had seized 87 suspects linked to kidnappings and fuel robbery, with the involvement of a mayor and police officers.

According to the government, around 500 police officers joined in the operation in response to the group's killing of three agents from Puebla's anti-kidnapping unit on Thursday.

Puebla's Secretary of the Interior, Diodoro Carrasco, told a press conference that the operation aimed to dismantle the group, thought to be an offshoot of the cartel, Los Zetas, and led by "El Buchanans."

Carrasco revealed that the Mayor of the town Atzitzintla, Jose Isaias Velazquez, and the local police had been offering protection to the gang.

State prosecutor Victor Carranca added that the three agents were investigating a crime which took place in February, when they were turned over to the criminal gang by the local officers. The three were later shot dead in the village of San Jose Cuyachapa, with their bodies abandoned on a road.

Carranca added that "El Buchanans" had managed to escape during the operation early Friday. However, the raid turned up 16 rifles, five handguns, three fragmentation grenades, 4,600 bullets, and 30 vehicles the gang used to steal fuel.

The Puebla government is now preparing to charge those arrested with crimes including homicide, kidnapping and fuel theft.