Antonella Barba, former 'American Idol' star, accused of dealing nearly 2 lbs. of fentanyl
Antonella Barba tried to deliver nearly two pounds of the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl to Norfolk, Virginia, in October as a member of a drug ring that also trafficked in heroin and cocaine, federal authorities allege.
An indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Norfolk Thursday also accuses the former "American Idol" star of possessing 400 grams of a substance that contained a detectable amount of fentanyl.
Barba, 32, was charged by federal authorities with one count of distribution and possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and one count of conspiracy, as state drug dealing charges were dropped.
Barba, who had been out on a $50,000 secured bond since Oct. 27 on the state charges, was taken into federal custody Monday morning.
A detention hearing is scheduled for Thursday. A federal public defender assigned to the case could not be reached.
Authorities allege in the indictment that a man also charged, Justin Michael Isaac, directed Barba to drop off the fentanyl in Norfolk.
Barba was arrested about 11:30 a.m. Oct. 11 in downtown Norfolk. She was charged with one count of possession of more than 100 grams of heroin with intent to distribute it.
She faced up to 40 years in prison. The federal charges she now faces carry even stiffer penalties
Each of the two counts carries a maximum prison sentence of life – the distribution charge carries a minimum term of 10 years – if she is convicted.
An attorney speaking on Barba's behalf after her arrest said she did not know drugs were in her rented vehicle.
The names of at least two other defendants have been blacked out in the indictment.
That most likely means they have yet to be captured or they could be cooperating with prosecutors, a less likely possibility, authorities said.