UMN student convicted in Super Bowl sex-trafficking sting

Koushik Mamidala responded to an online ad placed by an undercover officer pretending to be a 15-year-old girl.

Tiffany Bui

A University of Minnesota student was convicted on felony prostitution charges after he was arrested in a Super Bowl sex-trafficking sting last year.

Koushik Mamidala, a 21-year-old Carlson School of Management student, was sentenced to 30 days of house arrest and five years supervised probation Thursday, according to Washington County District Court records. 

Mamidala was arrested Jan. 27, 2018, eight days before Super Bowl LII, when he responded to an advertisement placed by police on Backpage.com, according to the criminal complaint.  The officer posed as a 15-year-old girl in messages with Mamidala. When he showed up at the Woodbury apartment address the officer gave him, he was immediately arrested.

The operation was part of police efforts to crack down on sex trafficking in the lead-up to the Super Bowl. Seventeen other men were arrested in Woodbury after responding to similar online ads created by undercover officers, the Pioneer Press reported. Officers from the East Metro Sex Trafficking Task Force and the Minneapolis Police Department carried out the sting. 

Karmen McQuitty, Mamidala’s attorney with Student Legal Service, said she’s never seen a case where an actual trafficking victim is involved in these sting operations. 

“[It’s] significant in my mind that there is never an ACTUAL victim in these cases— [it’s] the cops all along,” McQuitty said in an email to the Minnesota Daily. “The Mamidala case was one of these stings. The officers placed an ad and lured Mr. Mamidala there. There was never an underage girl. That does not negate guilt, but provides context.”

Mamidala declined to comment for this story.