LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A former employee for the Los Angeles Angels has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Texas on drug charges in connection with the 2019 overdose death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs.
The grand jury Thursday indicted 45-year-old Eric Kay with two counts of distributing the fentanyl that resulted in Skaggs’ death.
Kay, who was a media relations director for the team, was initially arrested by federal authorities on Aug. 7 in Fort Worth on a drug distribution charge, but had not yet entered or filed a plea.
The 27-year-old Skaggs was found dead in a suburban Dallas hotel room on July 1, 2019, while the Angels were on the road playing the Texas Rangers. A toxicology report later determined Skaggs died of an accidental overdose from a mix of alcohol, fentanyl and oxycodone.
Kay had provided Skaggs with drugs prior to his death on several occasions, prosecutors said. Drug Enforcement Administration special agent Geoffrey Lindenberg alleged in court papers that Kay and others conspired to distribute fentanyl beginning in 2017.
“During the course of the investigation, I learned that (Skaggs) and Kay had a history of narcotic transactions, including several exchanges wherein Kay acquired oxycodone pills for (Skaggs) and others from Kay’s source(s) in the days leading up to and surrounding (Skaggs’) overdose death,” Lindenberg wrote in the affidavit.
When he was first interviewed by DEA agents, Kay denied knowing Skaggs used drugs, prosecutors said.
However, according to the criminal complaint which was filed July 30, text messages between Kay and Scaggs, along with other evidence, revealed that Kay had stopped by Skaggs’ hotel room late on the night before he died to deliver pills to him.
When authorities searched Skaggs’ hotel room, they found several white and pink pills, along with one blue pill, the complaint reads. The white pills were a prescription anti-inflammatory and the pink pills were a prescription oxycodone. However, The blue pill found in the room was determined to be a counterfeit pill laced with fentanyl marked “M/30,” and which investigators learned Kay informally dubbed a “blue boy.”
DEA investigators discovered that Kay dealt blue boys to Skaggs and others at Angel Stadium, the criminal complaint alleges.
Skaggs, who attended Santa Monica High School where his mother is a softball coach, was drafted by the Angels back in 2009. He was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2010, but was then traded back to the Angels in 2013, and had been with the Angels ever since. He had married his wife Carli in the offseason just prior to his death.
Skaggs underwent Tommy John surgery that kept him out of action during the 2015 season. He had a career record of 28-38.
Skaggs’ death sent shock waves around the sports world. In December of 2019, Major League Baseball announced it would begin drug testing players for opioids, a move which was precipitated by Skaggs’ death.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)