Former Los Angeles Angels director of communications Eric Prescott Kay was arrested in Texas on Friday in connection with the overdose death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs, prosecutors said.
Kay, who acted as the media contact on several of the team’s road trips, appeared in federal court after being charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl following the July 2019 death of Skaggs.
U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox condemned the alleged actions of Kay, who according to the criminal complaint supplied a steady flow of drugs for Skaggs and other players.
“Tyler Skaggs’ overdose – coming, as it did, in the midst of an ascendant baseball career – should be a wake-up call: No one is immune from this deadly drug, whether sold as a powder or hidden inside an innocuous-looking tablet,” Nealy Cox said.
Skaggs, 27, was found dead in his hotel room in the Dallas area on July 1, 2019, before the start of what was supposed to be a four-game series against the Texas Rangers. He died after choking on his vomit with a toxic mix of alcohol and the powerful painkillers fentanyl and oxycodone in his system, a coroner's report said.
The Angels issued a statement Friday stating that the team was unaware of Skaggs' opioid use and were unaware that one of their employees had been supplying players with drugs.
"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,” the statement read.
If convicted, Kay faces up to 20 years in prison.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.