A former Los Angeles Angels employee allegedly linked to the death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs was accused Friday of asking drug dealers to deliver opioids to Angel Stadium and providing drugs to at least five players on the team, according to federal prosecutors on Friday.
Eric Kay was indicted by a federal grand jury in October on drug charges for allegedly giving Skaggs the drugs that caused his overdose death in July 2019. He was charged with drug distribution and drug conspiracy in the 27-year-old pitcher’s death. The charges carry maximum life sentences and 20 years in prison.
Kay, the team’s former communications director, is accused of communicating with oxycodone dealers through the OfferUp marketplace, and at least one exchange occurred weeks before Skaggs’ death, according to League of Justice. Prosecutors said in the filing that Kay provided Skaggs with counterfeit oxycodone pills and medical reports will determine that if it wasn’t for the fentanyl Skaggs would still be alive. It’s unclear whether Kay knew the pills were laced with fentanyl.
Prosecutors alleged about five MLB players are set to testify they acquired oxycodone from Kay, according to League of Justice. Kay is accused of using Skaggs as a middleman for his operation as well.
“The evidence will also demonstrate that Kay often coordinated the distribution through text messages or through conversations involving the victim [Skaggs],” prosecutors said in the filing. “Evidence will also demonstrate that Kay was motivated to obtain these pills because Kay could himself use some of the pills that he obtained for the players.”
As an incentive, ESPN reported Skaggs offered a Mike Trout-signed baseball and tickets for drugs. Kay reportedly told DEA agents he and Skaggs had a deal in which he would obtain the drugs for himself and the pitcher and was only doing it to further continue their own addictions.
Skaggs choked to death on his vomit on July 1, 2019, after ingesting a toxic mix of alcohol, fentanyl and oxycodone.
Skaggs’ family filed lawsuits against Kay and another former communications director, Tim Mead, in June, accusing them of negligence. Team officials said they were not aware Skaggs used opioids and did not know employees were providing drugs to players.
“In 2019, Angels baseball hired a former federal prosecutor to conduct an independent investigation to comprehensively understand the circumstances that led to Tyler’s tragic death,” Angels spokesperson Marie Garvey said in a June statement.
“The investigation confirmed that the organization did not know that Tyler was using opioids, nor was anyone in management aware or informed of any employee providing opioids to any player.
“The lawsuits are entirely without merit and the allegations are baseless and irresponsible. The Angels organization strongly disagrees with the claims made by the Skaggs family and we will vigorously defend these lawsuits in court.”
Kay pleaded not guilty to the charges and is scheduled to face trial on Oct. 4.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.