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West Springfield woman denies smuggling heroin to boyfriend in jail

Autumn Rankin, 35, pleaded not guilty Friday in Northampton District Court to charges of possession of a Class A drug (heroin), delivering drugs to a prisoner and conspiracy to violate drug laws.

She was released on her own recognizance by Judge W. Michael Goggins.

According to court records, Rankin’s boyfriend, Anthony Tangredi, 31, of Springfield, is an inmate at the Hampshire County Jail and House of Correction.

During routine monitoring of phone calls from the jail, investigators heard conversations between Rankin and Tangredi recorded between Feb. 27 and March 1 about how and when to bring drugs into the jail.

According to court files, Tangredi complained about suffering from withdrawals and being “dope sick.”

During a visit on March 1, Rankin allegedly brought packaged heroin into the jail during a visit, held it in her mouth and passed it to Tangredi’s mouth during a kiss.

Tangredi swallowed the package and retrieved it later by forcing himself to vomit in his cell by drinking shampoo, according to court records.

The calls about how and when to bring drugs into the jail continued for the next week, according to court files.

On March 8, the pair made arrangements on the phone to bring more heroin into the jail for Tangredi, who had used the drugs that were previously smuggled in, according to court files.

Authorities at the jail were made aware of the pending drug exchange and confronted Rankin when she arrived at the jail to visit Tangredi about 6:50 p.m.

Rankin admitted to bringing drugs into the jail on March 1, but denied having any on her at that time.

A search revealed a package in her right front pants pocket containing about 10 bags of heroin, according to court records.

Investigators said there were 41 recorded phone calls between the two, all openly discussing bringing drugs into the jail.

Rankin was issued a trespass notice from the jail, according to court records. She is due back in court on June 9 for a pre-trial hearing.

Bob Dunn can be reached at bdunn@gazettenet.com.

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