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Feds: Ex-Angels staffer Eric Kay used Tyler Skaggs as middleman to deal drugs to multiple MLB players

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Federal prosecutors intend to prove that former Los Angeles Angels staffer Eric Kay ran a drug distribution operation that supplied illegal narcotics to several MLB players, including the fentanyl that allegedly led to the death of Tyler Skaggs in 2019

According to court documents filed on Friday and obtained by the Los Angeles Times and The League of Justice's Amy Dash, “approximately” five MLB players are prepared to testify that they obtained oxycodone from Kay. Prosecutors allege that Kay coordinated the supply of narcotics from nine different suppliers and sometimes used Skaggs as a middleman for distribution.

“The evidence will also demonstrate that Kay often coordinated the distribution through text messages or through conversations involving the victim [Skaggs],” the filing reads. ..."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."

Kay faces drug charges related to Skaggs' death

The filing did not name the MLB players whose testimony may be used or what teams they play for. The federal government indicted Kay in October on charges of conspiracy to possess with intention to distribute a controlled substance and distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death and serious bodily injury. Kay pleaded not guilty and is schedule to face trial starting Oct. 4. 

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 31: The mural of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs (45) during a MLB game between the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on August 31, 2019 at Angel Stadium of Anaheim in Anaheim, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
A mural of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs at Angel Stadium. (Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Skaggs' overdose death

Skaggs was found dead in a Texas hotel room in July of 2019 at 27 years old prior to a road game against the Rangers. A toxicology report determined that a combination of “alcohol, fentanyl and oxycodone intoxication with terminal aspiration of gastric contents” was the cause of death. 

According to The Tarrant County medical examiner, Skaggs choked on his own vomit after ingesting the mix of illicit drugs and alcohol. A counterfeit oxycodone pill containing fentanyl was found his room. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is cheaper and significantly more powerful than oxycodone. It is often mixed with oxycodone for illegal distribution. It is commonly linked to overdose deaths. 

Skaggs' family has filed a wrongful death civil suit against the Angels that names Kay and fellow former Angels staffer Tim Mead. Both men worked in the team's communications department. Mead was Kay's manager. His attorney has previously denied to ESPN that he had any knowledge of the alleged drug distribution operation. Prosecutors allege that Kay started distributing drugs to Angels players in 2017.

The Angels released a statement that the civil suit is "entirely without merit and the allegations are baseless and irresponsible.” The team intends to “vigorously defend these lawsuits in court.”

Filing: Kay offered Angels tickets, autographed Mike Trout ball in drug deals

Friday's court filing cites transcripts from the online auction site OfferUp that allegedly show communication between Kay and his suppliers coordinating drug deals. According to the document, Kay would sometimes offer Angels memorabilia and tickets as part of the transactions that allegedly took place at Angel Stadium, including a baseball autographed by three-time AL MVP Mike Trout. 

“U have a son? Could hook him with a signed Trout ball for a trade if U want?” Kay allegedly wrote to a distributor referred to as Sharky.

“We dodger fans my boi lol,” Sharky responded.

The filing alleges that Kay “obtained the pills while at Angel Stadium on June 30, 2019” that allegedly led to Skaggs' July 1 death.

"Kay would communicate with individuals during the workday and even ask them to deliver oxycodone pills to Angel Stadium, showing that he had the opportunity to obtain the pills he distributed to [Skaggs] on June 30, 2019,” the filing reads, per the Times.

One interaction shows Kay allegedly asking for drugs without fentanyl. 

“Ok cool. Pharm grade? No fet. S*** is scary,” Kay wrote, per the filing.

Prosecutors say they also have text message and phone record evidence of Kay's alleged drug transactions.

Prosecutors: Kay kept drugs at his work desk

Kay worked for the Angels from 2006 through 2019. The civil suit against the Angels alleges that Kay was a known drug abuser. He overdosed at Angel Stadium around three months prior to Skaggs' death, according to Friday's court filing. Prosecutors claim that law enforcement officers found traces of oxycodone and fentanyl on items seized from Kay's work desk. 

“Not only was it oxycodone pills, but it was residue and indications associated with the exact types of drugs found in [Skaggs’] system at the time of his death,” the filing reads.

Kay's attorney William Reagan Wynn didn't respond to a Times request for comment. Kay faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

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