Ex-Angels staffer charged in death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs

The Angels’ former director of communications has been charged with allegedly supplying drugs to Tyler Skaggs, the team’s pitcher who was found dead in his hotel room last July after an overdose, according to officials.

Eric Kay was charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas announced Friday. Kay was arrested Friday morning and could face up to 20 years in prison if he is convicted.

The 27-year-old Skaggs was found dead on July 1, 2019 in Texas — where the Angels were playing the Rangers — with the opioids fentanyl and oxycodone in his system, along with alcohol, according to the toxicology report.

“It was later determined that but for the fentanyl in [Skaggs’] system, [Skaggs] would not have died,” an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Fort Worth said.

Investigators found pills in Skaggs’ hotel room, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office, including a single blue pill that “resembled a 30-milligram oxycodone tablet” and was laced with fentanyl.

tyler skaggs death angels eric kay opiods charged
A memorial for late Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs.AP Photo

The affidavit said Kay would “distribute these pills to [Skaggs] and others in their place of employment and while they were working.”

Investigators also obtained text messages between Skaggs and Kay from June 30, 2019:

“Hoe [sic] many?” Kay wrote.

“Just a few like 5,” Skaggs replied.

“Word,” Kay said.

“Don’t need many,” Skaggs wrote back.

A text message exchange later that night showed Skaggs telling Kay to “come by” his hotel room.

“We learned that there was unacceptable behavior inconsistent with our code of conduct, and we took steps to address it,” the Angels said in a statement Friday. “Our investigation also confirmed that no one in management was aware, or informed, of any employee providing opioids to any player, nor that Tyler was using opioids.”

Kay had worked for the Angels for 24 years before leaving his job following Skaggs’ death, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“Tyler Skaggs’s overdose – coming, as it did, in the midst of an ascendant baseball career – should be a wakeup call: No one is immune from this deadly drug, whether sold as a powder or hidden inside an innocuous-looking tablet,” U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox said in a release. “Suppressing the spread of fentanyl is a priority for the Department of Justice.”

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