Secret Service Looks at Texas Arrests for Target Links


By Charles Levinson and Paul Ziobro

The Secret Service said Tuesday it is working with McAllen, Texas, police to determine if recent arrests in a credit card fraud case have any link to the massive breach over the holidays at Target Corp.

The comments follow conflicting comments from McAllen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez, who said at a news conference Monday that the events were linked, and a federal official who said no connection had been established.

"The Secret Service is working with the U.S. Attorney's Office and McAllen Police Department to determine if there is any connection," Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said in an email.

A Target spokeswoman declined late Monday to comment on the arrests.

At issue is the arrest of Mary Carmen Garcia Vaquera, 27, and Daniel Guardiola Dominguez, 28, both of Monterrey, Mexico, who were taken into custody by McAllen police and charged with fraud. Mr. Rodriguez said at the news conference Monday the pair used stolen credit card data to make tens of thousands of dollars of fraudulent purchases at Best Buy, Wal-Mart and other retailers in South Texas.

Toys "R" Us spokeswoman Kathleen Waugh said Tuesday the company had no information to share at this time. The other retailers didn't reply to requests for comment Monday night.

Tuesday morning, Mr. Rodriguez said in an email that Secret Service field agents had told him fraudulent purchases made last week were linked to accounts from the breach.

Target has said it was the victim of an attack that began Nov. 27 and ran to Dec. 15, causing 40 million credit and debit card accounts to be compromised over the busy holiday season.

McAllen police first started to see the fraudulent purchases a week ago and identified Mr. Dominguez and Ms. Garcia after examining surveillance video from local merchants, Mr. Rodriguez said.

Write to Charles Levinson at Chalres.Levinson@wsj.com

Write to Paul Ziobro at Paul.Ziobro@wsj.com

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