Tyler Skaggs was simply 27 as soon as he was uncovered dead in his hotel room, as his team ready to pat the Texas Rangers.

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Former L.A. Angels employee charged in pitcher Tyler Skaggs' deadly opioid overdose

Aug. 7, 202001:29
A previous Los Angeles Angels employee to be criminally charged for allegedly offering drugs that killed pitcher Tyler Skaggs last year, officials said Friday.

Eric Prescott Kay, who was manager of communications for the major League Baseball team at the moment of the incident, to be charged through conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, according to a statement indigenous the U.S. Attorney because that the north District the Texas.


Text messages on June 30, 2019, between Kay, 45, and also Skaggs confirmed the Angels pitcher asking Kay to supply pills come his room in ~ a Hilton hotel in Southlake, Texas, according to a criminal complaint composed by medicine Enforcement administration Special agent Geoffrey Lindenberg.

The Angels to be in the Dallas area to play the Texas Rangers as soon as the 27-year-old Skaggs was discovered dead in his hotel room ~ above July 1 of critical year.

Skaggs ingested a lethal combination of opioids and also alcohol before choking ~ above his very own vomit as result of "mixed ethanol, fentanyl and also oxycodone intoxication," according to result made critical year by the Tarrant County medical Examiner.

The an effective drug fentanyl is an easy ingredient for dealers and traffickers come slip into pills, and too numerous times, the drug takers don"t establish what they"re ingesting, follow to U.S. Lawyer Erin Nealy Cox.


Skaggs likely thought he was taking just oxycodone and not a deadly mix with fentanyl, the prosecutor said.

"But for the fentanyl, Mr. Skaggs would be alive today," Cox told reporters external a ft Worth courthouse wherein Kay to be arraigned earlier.

More than 30,000 Americans died in 2019 from fentanyl-related overdoses, according to the prosecutor.

Counterfeit oxycodone pills containing fentanyl also led come the fatality of hip-hop artist Mac fearbut in 2018, follow to investigators.


"Fentanyl is a artificial opioid 50 come 100 times much more potent 보다 morphine," Cox claimed Friday.

"The devastation led to by this deadly scourge has actually swept throughout the country and landed in all of our backyards. Despite a small section of fentanyl is sail for clinical settings, a vast majority of fentanyl ~ above the roads is illicitly produced."


The Los Angeles Angels place their jerseys ~ above the mound in respect of Tyler Skaggs ~ above July 12, 2019 in Anaheim, Calif.Keith Birmingham / Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images

In a joint statement to NBC News ~ above Saturday, Kay"s defense lawyers Michael Molfetta and also Reagan Wynn claimed their client "willingly traveled to Texas native California come surrender himself" and also will now "patiently wait because that his chance to do his story known."

"We have incredible respect for the court system and also the process, therefore we will certainly wait for the suitable time to attend to the allegation," the lawyers said, asking the general public to make reservation judgment until their side of the situation can be heard in court.


"We space disheartened through the action of those who have elected to leak information and also publicize documents. It offer to threaten the an easy tenet the our system of justice…the dispassionate ascertainment of the truth," the explain said.

Kay to be released ~ surrendering his passport and agreeing not to drink or take any type of illicit drugs, submit to drug testing, attend drug abuse therapy and also limit take trip to just Texas and California, follow to court records.

The Angels said in a declare on Friday the the club has been cooperating v investigators and also hired a former federal prosector to conduct an interior probe.

"Our investigation likewise confirmed that no one in management was aware, or informed, of any type of employee providing opioids to any player, nor that Tyler was using opioids," the Angels said.


"As we shot to heal from the lose of Tyler, we continue to occupational with authorities as they complete their investigation."

Kay has told investigators that Skaggs" battle with addiction was known in some quarters that the Angels organization, and that he had told his supervisor around it — though the team has actually denied the accusation.


Rusty Hardin, a Texas lawyer representing Skaggs" family, urged the Angels come reveal more details of their independent examination of Kay, that had worked for the team because that 24 years.

"We keep in mind that the Angels to speak they commissioned an independent investigation that concluded nobody in administration was mindful that a team employee was supplying illegal medicine to Tyler," Hardin claimed in a statement.


"We encourage the Angels to make that report public. We are relieved the no one else that was provided drugs by this Angels executive met the same fate as Tyler."

In the complain made public on Friday, Lindenberg created that Kay had supplied medicine to Skaggs on multiple occasions before the player"s untimely passing in Texas.

"During the course of the investigation, i learned that T.S. And also Kay had a background of drug transactions, consisting of serval exchanges wherein Kay gained oxycodone pills for T.S. And others native Kay"s source(s) in the days top up to and also surrounding T.S."s overdose death," follow to the DEA agent.

These pills were dubbed "blues" or "blue boys," and "Kay would distribute this pills to T.S. And others in their place of employment and while they were working," Lindenberg alleged.


Cox called Skaggs a "left-hander v a ton that promise, a great teammate and also a hard worker."

"Tyler Skaggs’s fatality — coming, as it did, in the middle of one ascendant baseball career — must be a wakeup call," Cox added.

"No one is immune from the fatal addictive nature of this drugs, whether sold as a powder or covert inside one innocuous-looking tablet. Anyone deserve to be fooled by counterfeit prescription drugs."

The investigation is continuous and more arrests space possible, public official said.


"As through today’s arrest of Eric Kay, the DEA will proceed to identify and investigate individuals and organizations responsible because that the illicit trafficking the counterfeit and also diverted managed prescription drugs," DEA one-of-a-kind Agent in charge Eduardo A. Chávez told reporters in ft Worth.

"We will host each and also everyone of friend accountable. "

The southern California native Skaggs was selected by the Angels with the 40th all at once pick of the 2009 MLB Draft. He to be traded double in his young career, native the Angels come the Arizona Diamondbacks before he was dealt earlier to Anaheim.

Skaggs struggled v injuries transparent his career and also missed the whole 2015 season recovering from surgical procedure to fix his ulnar collateral ligament — a procedure known frequently in baseball as "Tommy man surgery."


The angles franchise is a reasonably young one by MLB standards, coming right into existence in 1961, and also the club has actually suffered its re-publishing of in-season tragedies.

Standout outfielder Lyman Bostock to be gunned under in Gary, Indiana, in 1978 when his team remained in town to play the Chicago White Sox. The estranged husband of one acquaintance in Bostock"s group opened fire and killed the 27-year-old Angels slugger.

And in 2009, a drunken driver plowed inyp a automobile carrying 22-year-old angles pitcher Nick Adenhart, death him and also two others. Adenhart had actually thrown six shutout innings in a game hours prior to his death.

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David K. Li

David K. Li is a break news reporter for NBC News.


Andrew Blankstein

Andrew Blankstein is an investigative reporter for NBC News. He covers the Western joined States, specializing in crime, courts and homeland security.