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Former 'American Idol' contestant pleads not guilty to drug charges

Antonella Barba, who competed on Season 6 of 'American Idol,' was arrested and charged with heroin distribution last week in Norfolk.

NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) — A former "American Idol" contestant will remain behind bars after making her first court appearance on drug charges.

Antonella Barba pleaded not guilty to distributing more than 100 grams of heroin. She was arrested in Norfolk last week. If convicted, she could face between five and 40 years in prison.

The singer appeared before a judge for an arraignment Monday where she appeared unfazed.

"I think that's because she seems very intelligent. She also disputes being involved in this," said Defense Attorney Eric Korslund.

Barba was traveling through Hampton Roads to Florida when arrested, according to court documents filed in Norfolk General District.

The New Jersey native lives in Los Angeles, California and has family in both states. She has no relatives in Norfolk, paperwork stated, which could pose an issue in later court proceedings.

"That may lessen the probability of her getting a bond or perhaps increase the amount of surety in a bond given or some other restraints the court might put on her when given a bond," said Korslund. "But the ties to the community is a serious concern."

Documents also state that Barba had a pending charge of Possession of Marijuana in Kansas and was scheduled to have a court appearance later this month.

The 31-year-old was a contestant on season 6 of "American Idol" back in 2007. She finished in the top 16 on the singing reality competition before being eliminated. Jordin Sparks ultimately won the season.

Barba had her fair share of controversy on "American Idol." While appearing on the show, racy images emerged of her topless on the beach. Additional photos of Barba posing in a wet T-shirt near the World War II Memorial in Washington also surfaced.

She's also appeared on "Fear Factor," "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" and other television shows.

USA TODAY contributed to this report.