Drug and Human Trafficking Organization Dismantled in Ventura County

By the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office

Starting in March 2021, Human Trafficking Investigators assigned to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Special Crimes Unit and FBI received information that sex and labor trafficking was taking place at several massage parlors and skin care businesses in Ventura County. These businesses were owned and operated by family members living in Oxnard. 

As the investigation proceeded, investigators learned the suspects primarily targeted women from Mexico of underprivileged backgrounds to work in these illicit businesses, some of whom were living in Southern California. Investigators also learned the suspects utilized third parties to recruit women to work in these illicit businesses. Once these women were recruited, sex advertisements were placed on various internet sites depicting them. These sex advertisements would describe pricing, the type of sexual encounters available, and which illicit business the women were working.  These advertisements were updated daily, and the females were rotated throughout the businesses owned by the suspects.

Investigators identified four sex and labor trafficking businesses in Ventura County which were owned and operated by the suspects. Additionally, investigators identified a Mexican food restaurant which was owned by the suspects to launder the proceeds from the illicit sex businesses.

The family members managed several of the illicit businesses, collected daily payment receipts from all the businesses, recruited the females, and posted sex advertisements. In addition to the illicit businesses, investigators learned the suspects were involved in narcotics trafficking. The husband-and-wife team Ira and Erika Malarowitz operated the organization while the family members acted as middle management between the brothels.

On August 19, 2022, search warrants were served at the businesses and several residences. As a result of these warrants, numerous trafficked females were located and provided services through human trafficking victim service providers. Large sums of cash were located and seized from the locations which was believed to be proceeds from sex and narcotics trafficking. Investigators also seized large amounts of suspected methamphetamine, fentanyl, cocaine, and marijuana, along with two firearms. Neither firearm was registered, and one was a privately manufactured un-serialized handgun which is commonly referred to as a “ghost gun.”

The case has been presented to the United States Attorney’s Office for criminal proceedings.

The Sheriff’s Special Crimes Unit/ Human Trafficking investigators are part of the Ventura County Human Trafficking Task Force which is made up of members from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, Ventura County District Attorney’s Office, Ventura Police Department, Santa Paula Police Department, Simi Valley Police Department, Oxnard Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, California Department of Justice, and several victim service providers. The primary mission of the task force is combatting the fight against sex and/or labor trafficking of humans within Ventura County.  The Ventura County Task force works closely with surrounding cities and counties to fulfill their mission.

Detectives encourage victims to contact “211” or local law enforcement if you believe you are victim or know a victim of human trafficking to be connected with services.

(S)uspects, (V)ictims, (P)arty, (L)ocation

City of Residence

(S) Ira Malarowitz
(S) Erika Malarowitz
(S) Alma Monarrez-Diaz
(S) Melesio Monarrez-Diaz
(S) Justin Malarowitz
(L) Magic Therapy
(L) Mission Spa
(L) Souly Foot Massage
(L) Sunshine Therapy
(L) Burrito Express
(L) 4200 Block Dallas Drive
(L) 4300 Block Dallas Drive
(L) 600 Block Lazaro Lane
Port Hueneme


Written by Anonymous

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