Mexican officials have filed an arrest warrant for the former mayor of a southern city for the kidnapping of 43 teachers' college students.

Tomas Zeron, head of criminal investigations for the Federal Prosecutor's Office, announced the arrest order Tuesday night. Forty-four other people are named in the warrant.

It is the first time the judicial system has officially linked Iguala ex-Mayor Jose Luis Abarca to the disappearances. Formal charges have not been filed.

Abarca and his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda, have been in custody since they were detained on the outskirts of Mexico City in November. Last week she was charged with organized crime and money laundering.

The 43 students disappeared in September. Prosecutors allege that police handed them over to the Guerreros Unidos drug gang, which killed them and burned the bodies.