Former 'American Idol' contestant Antonella Barba pleads guilty in fentanyl bust

A former contestant on the "American Idol" and "Fear Factor" television shows pleaded guilty Tuesday in a Virginia federal court to charges of fentanyl possession with intent to distribute.

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Antonella Barba, 32, of Point Pleasant, New Jersey, pleaded guilty to possessing at least 400 grams of the opioid. A sentencing hearing is set for Nov. 21 in U.S. District Court in Norfolk, the Virginian-Pilot reported.

Barba made it to the round of 16 on "American Idol" in 2007 and appeared in an episode of "Fear Factor" in 2012, reported.

According to a plea agreement filed in federal court, a guilty plea carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, the Asbury Park Press reported. She could face a possible life sentence and up to $10 million in fines, according to the agreement.

Authorities said Barba was parked in downtown Norfolk on Oct. 11, 2018, when a police officer walked up to her car and found a closed shoebox on the floor of her rental car, reported. The officer found a plastic bag filled with a "large quantity of a white, rock-like substance," the website reported, citing an arrest report. The box contained 830.9 grams of fentanyl, the Pilot reported.

According to a statement of facts filed with Barba's plea agreement, police began investigating Justin Michael Isaac, of California, in September 2018, the Pilot reported. On Oct. 11, police received a tip that Isaac would be traveling to Norfolk from Washington, D.C., to make a delivery, the newspaper reported. While en route, however, Isaac allegedly told another person in a telephone call he would be sending a woman to deliver the drugs to a stash house in Norfolk, according to the plea agreement.

Investigators staked out the stash house that night and eventually saw a vehicle parked nearby and a woman inside it, the Pilot reported. That's when police approached Barba and made the discovery of the fentanyl, the newspaper reported.

Isaac is expected to plead guilty to related charges Aug. 14, according to the Pilot.

Barba had been confined to a home in Mount Pleasant under a court order, according to the Press.

In addition to her appearances on "American Idol" and "Fear Factor," Barba also appeared in the 2017 movie "All About the Money."

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