Antonella Marie Barba, a former American Idol contestant, is now facing federal drug distribution charges and was arrested again on February 11, 2019.
Barba was originally arrested in Norfolk, Virginia on October 11, 2018, and released on bond two weeks later. She was accused of attempting to deliver nearly two pounds of fentanyl, according to an unsealed document obtained by the Virginian-Pilot.
Barba, 32, appeared on season 6 of the reality singing competition in 2007. She reached the top 16 before being eliminated. Barba denied the accusations through her attorney, as reported by the Asbury Park Press. Her attorney said that Barba was unaware that there were drugs in her vehicle.
Here’s what you need to know about Antonella Barba and her arrest:
1. Barba Faces Between 5 to 40 Years in Prison if Convicted
Antonella Barba was arrested at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, October 11, in Norfolk, Virginia. She was booked into the Norfolk City Jail and charged with heroin distribution of 100 grams or more. According to WAVY-TV, Barba was taken into custody by the Norfolk Police in the 500 block of Duke Street. Barba was traveling through Virginia en route to Florida, according to court documents obtained by WVEC-TV. She was on her way to Miami for a recording session, according to the Asbury Park Press.
Barba appeared before a judge on October 15, 2018, and was ordered to continue being held in jail without any bail after pleading not guilty. She was due back in court on October 22 for a procedural hearing, in which she would inform the court of who she chose to represent her. Barba’s defense attorney, Eric Korslund, had said it was possible the judge would continue to deny bond because Barba does not have any ties to Norfolk. That appears to be what happened. As of October 24, jail records showed that Barba remains in the custody of the Norfolk City Sheriff’s Office. But she was released on bond on October 27 to await trial.
According to Norfolk inmate records, the heroin charge is a Class F felony. The state of Virginia has relatively harsh punishments for drug distribution. If convicted, she faces between 5 to 40 years in state prison, along with a potential fine, according to state law.
As referenced at the beginning of this article, Barba is now facing federal charges. Prosecutors accuse her of working for a drug ring; the charges include conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute drugs including heroin, fentanyl and cocaine.
2. Barba Was Charged With 2 Misdemeanors in 2011 After Police Said She Stole Gloves From a Manhattan Store
Antonella Barba has faced legal trouble before. She was accused of stealing from a New York City store in December 2010. The incident occurred at an Urban Outfitters in Manhattan.
The singer apparently tried to walk out of the store with a pair of gloves worth $18.81. She triggered the alarm system, which prompted a security guard to go through her purse and find the gloves.
A judge charged Barba with two misdemeanors. She was ordered to complete one day of community service.
3. Barba Prompted Controversy When Photos of Her in a Wet T-Shirt Circulated Online While Competing on ‘American Idol’ in 2007
Antonella Barba first appeared on national television in 2007 as a competitor on American Idol. She competed on Season 6, which was the year Jordin Sparks won the top prize. Barba made it to the top 16 before being eliminated.
Barba’s first brush with fame included some controversy. She had previously posed for semi-nude photos in front of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. She was wearing a white T-shirt and posing in a fountain. Those photos circulated online during her time on the popular reality show.
Barba did not deny taking the pictures. She said in an interview at the time that the photos were “very personal and that is not how I intended to portray myself nor do I intend to portray myself that way in the future.”
4. Antonella Barba Continued Singing After Her American Idol Stint
Antonella Barba has continued to pursue an entertainment career since her appearance on American Idol. In 2010, she released the single “Jersey Shore.” She also released a Christmas song in 2009, and the song “My Santa” in 2017. She has not recorded her own album.
But she has apparently been involved with producing other albums. In February 2018, Barba tweeted that she was working on an R Kelly record. She shared a photo of herself playing the violin alongside two other musicians.
The New Jersey native has sung the national anthem for the Los Angeles Dodgers every year for the past five years, according to her social media posts.
In May of 2018, Barba appeared alongside other former American Idol contestants for a special skit on Jimmy Kimmel Live. They sang a parody version of “We Are the World.” The other singers included William Hung, Ruben Studdard and Taylor Hicks. Barba wrote on Facebook, “Thank you Jimmy Kimmel Live for bringing me back to perform on your show! I’m honored to be one of the favorites you picked & had so much fun performing this skit!”
5. Antonella Barba Returned to College After American Idol & Appeared in a Video for UNICEF
Antonella Barba has a bachelor’s degree in architecture, although she apparently never pursued a career in that field. Barba graduated from Catholic University in Washington, D.C. in 2008.
According to her LinkedIn page, Barba was involved with charity work. (The page does not appear to have been updated since 2015). She was a brand ambassador for UNICEF, a United Nations organization that works to benefit children around the world. In 2014, Barba was one of many artists and actors that appeared on the Unicef Imagine Campaign. The participants covered the John Lennon song “Imagine” for the music video.
She posted a video on Facebook on October 6 saying she was on vacation in Costa Rica:
Barba is originally from Point Pleasant, New Jersey. She was living in Los Angeles at the time of her arrest.
READ NEXT: FBI: Ohio Man Threatened to Behead President Trump