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Is Border Arrest Connected To Target Credit Card Breach?

On Sunday, two Mexican nationals arrested at the McAllen port of entry in Texas were found to have 96 fraudulent credit cards in their possession. Daniel Guardiola Dominguez, 28, and Mary Carmen Garcia, 27, were taken into custody while crossing the Anzalduas International Bridge when authorities found the cards underneath their clothing.

According to KGBT-TV:

McAllen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez said their credit cards were made using data stolen from Rio Grande Valley residents during the Target data breach. Chief Rodriguez said both Guardiola Dominguez and Garcia came from Monterrey where there are already sophisticated credit card cloning and fraud rings.

However, whether or not the two were involved with the nationwide hack of credit card information at Target stores remains unclear. There were already disparities in initial information. The Associated Press reports, "a federal official said later there currently was no connection between the arrests and the retailer's credit card data theft."

As stated by KGBT-TV, the cards possessed by both Garcia and Guardiola Dominguez had the information of Valley residents and purchases were made at national retailers including Best Buy, Walmart, and Toys R Us.

Chief Rodriguez told The Monitor newspaper of McAllen the thieves were “obviously selling data sets by region.”

The Monitor had a list of banks in the area that McAllen police said had their accounts compromised:

Target National Bank Ohio University Credit Union Inc. Bank of America, National Association Citibank, N.A. ING Bank FSB USAA Federal Savings Bank International Bank of Commerce Lone Star National Bank Frost Bank

In an email statement to Fronteras Desk, the U.S. Secret Service said it continues to work closely with affected parties and law enforcement to investigate the Target breach.

In regard to the arrests, spokesman Brian Leary said “the Secret Service is working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and McAllen Police Department to determine if there is any connection.”

The joint-investigative initiative between McAllen Police and Secret Service began on Jan. 12. The Associated Press reports that’s how Guardiola Dominguez and Garcia were caught.

Investigators fanned out to McAllen-area merchants and reviewed "miles of video" looking for the fraudsters, he said. From that, they were able to identify two people and a car with Mexican license plates. With the help of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, investigators confirmed the identities of their suspects from immigration records of when they had entered Texas in the same vehicle, Rodriguez said. Police prepared arrest warrants last week and waited for them to return.

The pair is being held on state fraud charges.