A former American Idol contestant will spend nearly four years in federal prison after pleading guilty to possessing almost two pounds of the synthetic opioid fentanyl.
A federal judge in Virginia sentenced New Jersey’s Antonella Barba, 32, to a 45-month prison term in connection with a drug case dating back to October 2018. Barba, of Point Pleasant, pleaded guilty to possessing with intent to distribute more than 400 grams of fentanyl in July.
The former reality show contestant was arrested in October 2018 in Norfolk, after police found a shoebox in her rental car that contained a plastic bag with “a large quantity of a white, rock-like substance” inside. Forensic testing later revealed that the substance was more than 830 grams of fentanyl, which Barba was attempting to deliver to a Virginia stash house, court records say.
Police had begun surveilling the house in connection to an investigation into Justin Michael Isaac, whom prosecutors described as a “source for kilogram quantities of cocaine and heroin.” Barba arrived at the house after flying from Los Angeles to Dulles International Airport, where she rented the vehicle she had driven to Norfolk.
Barba appeared on American Idol in 2007 for the show’s sixth season, on which she reached the top 16. However, she failed to make the show’s final cut. She also made headlines after semi-nude photos of her leaked online, causing a controversy that fans worried would see her kicked off the show.
In 2012, Barba returned to reality TV in an appearance as a contestant on NBC’s Fear Factor. She was eliminated in the first round of the competition.