A Point Pleasant woman and former ‘American Idol’ contestant caught with nearly two pounds of fentanyl in Virginia last year was sentenced to four years in prison Thursday.
Antonella Barba, 32, had pleaded guilty in July to possessing with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Virginia.
Barba was parked in downtown Norfolk, Virginia, when a police officer walked up to her car at night in October 2018 and found the drug in a closed shoebox on the floor on the passenger side of her rental car, federal prosecutors said.
Barba later admitted she had landed at Washington-Dulles International Airport around 4 p.m. on a flight from Los Angeles, and that she rented a car there and drove to Norfolk, authorities said.
Prosecutors have said she was a courier for a drug ring.
The drugs taken from her car were given to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection lab for forensic analysis and were later determined to be over 830 grams, or nearly two pounds, of fentanyl.
Her mother and friends who support her pleaded with the judge via letters for a reduced sentence, arguing her role in the drug conspiracy was minimal, she’s an intelligent and driven person with a sound religious background whose life was derailed by the “American Idol” experience.
After her arrest, Barba was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder and narcissistic personality disorder, according to her attorneys, and is receiving treatment.
Barba reached the top 16 on “American Idol” in 2007, the year Jordin Sparks won.
After her stint on ‘Idol,’ she went back to school and got her bachelor’s degree in architecture, became a UNICEF ambassador, and continued to write songs and perform covers of other artists. She also appeared in a 2012 episode of “Fear Factor.”
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