Two Mexicans Linked to Target Data Breach Arrested at Border

Two Mexican nationals with ties to the Target data breach were apprehended at the border yesterday, according to Texas police. The arrest comes just days after an investigation linked the hack to a server based in Russia.

Mary Carmen Garcia, 27, and Daniel Guardiola Dominguez, 28, were nabbed by federal and local law enforcement agents when they crossed into the U.S. at a border-stop near McAllen, Texas. The duo had 96 counterfeit credit cards bearing stolen numbers from the Target data breach.

Garcia and Dominguez allegedly spent tens of thousands of dollars in the U.S. over the weekend with the counterfeit cards. Their favorite retailers included Walmart, Best Buy and Toys ‘R’ US, according to McAllen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez. Investigators suspect they were crossing the border yesterday to go on another spending binge.

Police are still connecting the dots in the case, but an investigation led by California-based security firm IntelCrawler said the Target hack likely originated in St.Petersburg, Russia. A Russian cybercrime ring has been selling the stolen data on the black market, which is probably how the Mexican duo obtained it.

“It quickly became obvious to us that the information about the fraudulent activity – that is, the accounts that were being used . . . was part of a data set that was involved in what we call now the Target data breach,” Rodriguez told reporters at a press conference.

“Someone in Mexico is obviously mining that data [obtained in the Target security breach] and producing the cards,” he said. 

Authorities aren’t cracking the bubbly just yet though – that’s because the actual hackers themselves may be beyond the reach of U.S. justice. 

Dan Clements, president of IntelCrawler, says the criminals who masterminded the hack probably won’t face the same fate as Garcia and Dominguez.

“Not when they are in these jurisdictions[Russia] . . . these people have coverage from US laws,” he said.