Former Los Angeles Angels staffer Eric Kay was given a 22-year federal prison sentence Tuesday after being convicted of providing fentanyl-laced counterfeit oxycodone pills that led to the overdose death of the team's pitcher Tyler Skaggs.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge Terry R. Means brought "Major League Baseball face to face" with the nation's opioid epidemic.
The 48-year-old Kay, a communications director for the team, was given a mandatory minimum of 20 years but was given an additional two years after the judge heard remarks Kay made about Skaggs while in prison.
Prosecutors argued Kay allegedly provided opioids to Skaggs as well as five other MLB players since 2017. During the trial, several players testified they had obtained and used illicit oxycodone, called "blue boys" due to their color.
On July 1, 2019, in Southlake, Texas, Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room. The Angels' pitcher was scheduled to play a series against the Texas Rangers. Upon that time, Kay reportedly told police he hadn't seen Skaggs since his check-in to the hotel and that he wasn't aware of any drug use by the pitcher other than marijuana.
But text messages between both Skaggs and Kay, the night before the pitchers' death, reveal that Kay knew otherwise.
On June 30, 2019, Kay, replying to Skaggs, wrote, "[How] many?"
"Just a few like 5," Skaggs replied.
Upon arrival to Texas, Skaggs texted Kay his hotel room number, along with "come by."
"K," Kay replied.
Geoffrey Lindenberg, the Drug Enforcement Administration special agent who signed the testimony supporting the criminal complaint against Kay, wrote, "I believe [Skaggs] and Kay were discussing drugs, specifically in this case, blue 3-milligram oxycodone pills."
"It was later determined that but for the fentanyl in [Skaggs'] system, [Skaggs] would not have died," Lindenberg added.
An autopsy later determined Skaggs died from choking on his own vomit after "alcohol, fentanyl and oxycodone intoxication."
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