Woman Pleads Guilty to Possessing with Intent to Distribute Fentanyl
NORFOLK, Va. – A New Jersey woman pleaded guilty today to possessing with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl.
According to court documents, Antonella Maria Barba, 32, of Point Pleasant, was parked in downtown Norfolk at approximately 11:05 p.m. in October 2018, when she was approached by law enforcement. A dog handler screened Barba’s rental vehicle with a drug dog, which alerted on the vehicle. The canine officer searched Barba’s rental vehicle and discovered a closed shoebox in plain view on the front passenger floorboard. The officer opened the shoebox and discovered a plastic bag containing a large quantity of a white, rock-like substance. Barba subsequently admitted she had landed at Washington-Dulles at around 4:00 p.m. on a flight from Los Angeles, and that she rented a car there and drove to Norfolk. The substance seized from Barba’s rental car was submitted to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Savannah Laboratory for forensic analysis, where a forensic scientist determined the substance to be fentanyl, a Schedule II controlled substance, with a total weight of 830.9 grams.
Barba faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison when sentenced on November 21. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Michael K. Lamonea, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Norfolk, Col. K.L. Wright, Chief of Chesapeake Police, and Angela Greene, Chief of Portsmouth Police, made the announcement after U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert J. Krask accepted the plea. Assistant U.S. Attorney Darryl J. Mitchell is prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:18-cr-158-2.