WINNIPEG - A Winnipeg newspaper says a member of the Saskatchewan Roughriders will face a trial later this year for alleged drug trafficking.
The Free Press says court documents show Winnipeg-born defensive lineman Jordan Reaves is charged with one count of possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.
Provincial court Judge Brian Corrin ruled in January following a preliminary hearing that there is sufficient evidence to warrant a one-week trial for the 27-year-old player.
The newspaper says Reaves is free on bail and will have his case heard in Court of Queen's Bench, starting Nov. 20.
Reaves - the son of former Winnipeg Blue Bomber running back Willard Reaves - was arrested in Winnipeg along with a second man during a traffic stop early last year.
The Roughriders are declining comment on the charge until they get more information.
Defence lawyer Mike Cook said Thursday Reaves plans to fight the case at trial.
"Mr. Reaves adamantly denied the allegations upon his arrest. He maintains his innocence,'' Cook told the Free Press.
The Roughriders were caught off guard when asked to comment about Reaves' legal situation Thursday. Reaves would have spent last season playing for the team while out on bail.
"The Roughriders are not aware of any such charges,'' said Ryan Pollock, a team spokesman.
Jordan Reaves played basketball for the Brandon University Bobcats before turning to football. He was signed by the Blue Bombers in 2015 but was cut after playing in a pair of pre-season games as a wide receiver.
Reaves signed with Saskatchewan in 2016 and played in five games as a defensive end. He recently signed another contract to remain with the team for the upcoming season.
His brother, Ryan Reaves, is a member of the St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League.
Cook said police were initially targeting another person as part of an ongoing drug investigation.
"They were following his travels. They arrested Mr. Reaves in a traffic stop as his car had been parked near the targeted individual's vehicle and a passenger had moved from one vehicle to the other,'' Cook said Thursday.
A quantity of cocaine was found inside the vehicle. Cook said it exceeded an amount that would have been deemed as personal use, which explains the trafficking charge.
Seif Ali, the second man arrested, is facing the same allegation and has also been bound over for trial.
None of the allegations has been proven and Reaves and Ali are presumed innocent.
A court-ordered ban prevents details of the preliminary hearing from being published.
(Winnipeg Free Press/Canadian Press)
ROUGHRIDERS STATEMENT ON REAVES
We were disappointed to learn of the legal situation concerning Jordan Reaves. Since the club was informed of the matter yesterday, Jordan has been open and cooperative with our inquiries. He absolutely maintains his innocence.
As the matter is now before the courts we will allow the legal process to take place before commenting any further.