Nov 16, 3:40 PM EST

Mexico begins court proceeding for mayor

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MEXICO CITY (AP) -- A federal judge has opened a court proceeding against the former mayor of a southern Mexico city in crimes that preceded the case of 43 missing students from a teachers' college.

The Federal Judiciary Council said in a statement late Saturday that Jose Luis Abarca has been charged with organized crime, the kidnapping of seven people and the killing of another in crimes that occurred before the students disappeared. Abarca was mayor of Iguala, in Guerrero state, when the students went missing.

Abarca has been behind bars since he and his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda, were arrested Nov. 4 in a crowded Mexico City neighborhood.

The Attorney General's Office considers Abarca the mastermind behind six killings and the disappearance of another 43 people in Iguala on Sept. 26.

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