NORFOLK, Va. — Former American Idol contestant Antonella Maria Barba has been sentenced to 45 months in prison for possession of fentanyl with the intent to distribute 400 grams or more of the substance, the U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Virginia announced.
She pleaded guilty to the charges in July.
Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid which the CDC says has seen a sharp rise in the number of police seizures of the drug in recent years.
Barba, 32, was sitting in a rental car in Norfolk, New Jersey, when law enforcement approached her vehicle. A drug dog raised an alert on the vehicle, leading a canine officer to search the car.
On the passenger side floor of the car, the officer found a closed shoebox in plain sight and, upon opening it, found a back of a “rock-like white substance” which would later be determined to be 830.9 grams of fentanyl, the attorney’s office says.
Barba was a contestant in the sixth season of American Idol which aired in 2007 but was eliminated early in the competition after singing songs by Aerosmith and Celine Dion. Her appearance on the show was marred by controversy, however, after a number of semi-nude photos were posted online. The singer said they were shared without her consent, according to Reuters.
Singer and actress Jordin Sparks won the season.