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January 22, 2014

2 nabbed at Texas border in Target case

McALLEN, Texas — Two Mexican citizens who were arrested at the border used account information stolen during the Target security breach to buy tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise, according to a South Texas police chief.

But a spokesman for the U.S. Secret Service said yesterday that an investigation is ongoing into the possibility of a link between the Target data breach and the arrests in Texas.

One day earlier, McAllen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez said Mary Carmen Garcia, 27, and Daniel Guardiola Dominguez, 28, both of Monterrey, Mexico, had used cards containing the account information of South Texas residents stolen from Target. Rodriguez said they were used to purchase numerous items at national retailers in the area including Best Buy, Wal-Mart and Toys R Us.

“They’re obviously selling the data sets by region,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez didn’t immediately return calls for comment yesterday.

In an email, Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said: “The U.S. Secret Service continues to work closely with affected parties and law enforcement to investigate the Target breach. In regards to the arrests announced yesterday, the Secret Service is working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and McAllen Police Department to determine if there is any connection.”

Garcia and Guardiola were both being held yesterday on state fraud charges. It was not immediately known whether they had retained lawyers.

Rodriguez said he did not know whether these arrests were the first related to the Target breach.

Asked about the McAllen arrests, Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder said in an email Monday that the investigation was active and ongoing.

“I’d have to refer you to local law enforcement there for any questions about their community,” she said. The Minneapolis-based company said last week that it has stopped more than a dozen operations that sought to scam breach victims by way of email, phone calls and text messages.

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