Drug Charges Against American Idol Antonella Barba
Antonella Barba, a season six American Idol contestant, pled guilty to 10 counts of drug distribution and one count of conspiracy to distribute. The state filed the first charges, accusing her of selling or intending to sell 100+ grams of heroin. After she pled not guilty and the investigation continued, the Federal Government involved itself and administered the charges to which Barba eventually pled guilty. These charges carry a mandatory minimum sentencing of 10 years. Her hearing in November could result in a life sentence, though judges rarely administer the maximum sentence. On top of her considerable jail time, Barba also faces a fine of $10 million for trafficking.
The investigation began as law enforcement tracked Justin Michael “Cali” Isaac, a drug supplier operating out of California. In a statement filed along with the plea agreement, investigators found that Isaac likely sourced “kilogram quantities of cocaine and heroin.” The initial lead came when they listened into a phone call Isaac made. He said he’d be visiting a stash apartment in Norfolk, Virginia, but mentioned that the drugs would be delivered by a woman acting as courier.
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While staking out the location, police found Barba’s car with the drugs she was smuggling for Isaac inside. Law enforcement later caught Isaac, who will face similar charges. Isaac is expected to plead guilty in his August trial. During the investigation, police found that Antonella Barba had been involved in this drug operation from 2017 to when she was caught in 2018. When fighting against the state’s charges, Barba alleged she didn’t know the rental car had drugs in it, but eventually gave up on that defense when federal charges began piling up.
In October 2018 police found a stash of cocaine, fentanyl, and 100 grams of heroin in a rental car Barba had driven from the Dulles International Airport. She took a flight from LA, where she was living at the time, carrying the drugs with the intent of distributing them through Norfolk. A K-9 unit identified a shoebox sitting on the passenger-side floor, which contained a big filled with a “large quantity of a white, rock-like substance.” Investigation later proved this to be 830 grams (nearly two pounds) of fentanyl.
Fentanyl is an extremely potent opioid responsible for a steadily rising number of overdoses during the ongoing opioid crisis. As little as two milligrams of fentanyl can cause an overdose. It was developed as a medical anesthetic and has limited prescriptive uses, and is extremely dangerous when used without medical supervision. Antonella Barba trafficked enough to kill 415,000 people, nearly twice the population of Norfolk.
Barba, 32, is currently awaiting trial confined to her parents’ house in her home town of Point Pleasant, New Jersey. In 2007, a 19-year-old Barba stood out as a fan favorite during her season of American Idol, making it to the final 16. After the competition in the late 00’s, she pursued a degree and looked toward making her own album. Along with other past American Idol singers, she appeared on an episode of Fear Factor in 2012. Recently, she appeared alongside Danny Trejo in the 2017 movie All About the Money.
Michael Muldoon earned a B.A. in Media Studies from Penn State University, but instead of shifting into an academic career in social science, he has decided to put his skills to work in the pursuit of helping those struggling with addiction. He enjoys spending his free time at the climbing gym with friends.
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