Eric Prescott Kay, a former Los Angeles employee has been charged with supplying drugs that led to the death of Tyler Skaggs in 2019. The charges accuse the 45-year-old Kay of providing counterfeit drugs that killed the player.
According to the US Attorney for the Northern District of Texas’s press release, the federal authorities in Texas have charged Kay with a conspiracy of distributing a mixture containing a considerable amount of fentanyl in it. The statement came out on Friday.
The authorities arrested Kay in Forth Worth. On Friday morning, it was his first court appearance. On July 1, 2019, the 27-year-old pitcher was found dead in Southlake, a suburban Dallas hotel room. It was the time when Skaggs’ team was going to play the Texas Rangers.
A toxicology and autopsy report clarified that Skaggs died of a mixture overdose of alcohol, fentanyl, and oxycodone. At first, Kay denied knowing Skaggs used drugs as per the prosecutors when first interviewed him.
The criminal complaint was filed by July 30. It was unsealed on Friday, and surprisingly, it revealed the text messages exchanged between Kay and Skaggs. It also unveiled other evidence confirming that Kay had visited Skaggs’ hotel room to deliver pills t him on the night before he died.
While searching Skaggs’ hotel room, the authorities had found several white and pink pills along with one blue pill as per the complaint. The white and pink pills were prescription anti-inflammatory and prescription oxycodone respectively. But, the blue pill turned out to be a counterfeit pill laced with fentanyl marked “M/30.” Investigators say that Kay dubbed it as a “blue boy.” Experts said that it wasn’t prescription oxy at all rather it was a deadly counterfeit.
Per the criminal complaint, DEA investigators found that Kay used to deal blue boys with Skaggs and others at Angel Stadium. If convicted, Kay may face a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
Skaggs’ death was very shocking and surprising news in the sports world. It urged Major League to begin drug-testing players for opioids, a move inspired by the death of Skaggs.
In 2009, Skaggs was drafted by the Angels. He attended Santa Monica High School where his mother is a softball coach. Then, he was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2010. He came back to Angels in 2013. Even since then, he had been with Angels. In the offseason prior to his death, Skaggs married his wife Carli.
Skaggs underwent Tommy John surgery. As a result, he couldn’t appear in the 2015 season. His career record stands at 28-38.
In response to the arrest, the Angels released the following statement Friday:
“It has been more than a year since the tragic passing of Tyler Skaggs, and all of us affected by this loss continue to grieve. The circumstances surrounding his death are a tragedy that has impacted countless individuals and families. The Angels Organization has fully cooperated with Law Enforcement and Major League Baseball. Additionally, in order to comprehensively understand the circumstances that led to his death, we hired a former federal prosecutor to conduct an independent investigation. We learned that there was unacceptable behavior inconsistent with our code of conduct, and we took steps to address it. 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. As we try to heal from the loss of Tyler, we continue to work with authorities as they complete their investigation.”