Barba faces a mandatory minimum 10-year prison sentence and a $10 million fine.
Antonella Barba, a former contestant on American Idol, has pleaded guilty to federal drug charges and is expected to serve significant prison time.
Barba pleaded guilty on Tuesday (July 30) to conspiracy to distribute heroin, fentanyl and cocaine.
Her sentencing is scheduled for November. Barba, 32, faces a mandatory minimum 10-year prison sentence, with the possibility of life, and a $10 million fine, People reported. The plea agreement filed in the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Virginia also included “forfeiture of assets and at least five years of supervised release,” NBC News reported.
The singer made it to the top 16 of season six of American Idol in 2007. She is also a former Fear Factor contestant.
Barba was arrested in October in Norfolk, Virginia, after police officers acting on a tip approached her vehicle and discovered drugs.
A K-9 indicated the presence of drugs, leading to a search of her rented vehicle and the discovery of a shoebox “in plain view on the front passenger floorboard,” according to a statement by federal prosecutors.
“The officer opened the shoebox and discovered a plastic bag containing a large quantity of a white, rock-like substance,” the statement read. Upon forensic analysis, the substance was determined to be 830.9 grams of fentanyl.
At the time, criminal defense attorney Eric Korslund said, “She disputes that she knew there were drugs in the car,” according to the Asbury Park Press.
Barba is reported to have been acting as a courier, instructed to deliver the fentanyl to a “stash house” in Norfolk. Two others, Justin Michael Isaac and Rawl Christopher Stennett were also charged in the case, NBC reported.
In February, Virginia officials dropped the state drug-dealing charges against Barba, as she was met with a new federal indictment. At the time, she had been out on a $50,000 secured bond since late October, APP reported, but since the indictment, she has been in federal custody.
The indictment listed 11 federal charges including one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess cocaine, heroin and fentanyl with the intent to distribute, and 10 counts of distribution or possession of cocaine, heroin and fentanyl with the intent to distribute.
The drug scheme operated from 2017 to October 2018, NBC reported.