Indictment: Ex-‘American Idol’ contestant was drug courier in Norfolk

Antonella Barba SouthsideDaily/Courtesy of Norfolk Sheriffs Office)
Antonella Barba SouthsideDaily/Courtesy of Norfolk Sheriffs Office)

NORFOLK — A recently unsealed court document says a former contestant on both “American Idol” and “Fear Factor” worked as a courier for a drug ring and was trying to deliver nearly 2 pounds (830 grams) of fentanyl when she was arrested last year.

Antonella Barba, 32,  was back in custody Monday, following a federal indictment charging her with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, heroin and fentanyl. Barba was originally arrested last October in Norfolk.

She was previously charged with shoplifting in New York, and has a felony marijuana case pending in Kansas, according to court papers.

Barba, of New Jersey, reached the top 16 on “American Idol” in 2007, the year Jordin Sparks won. She competed on “Fear Factor” in 2012.

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John Mangalonzo (john@localvoicemedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.