Jordan Reaves, the Winnipeg-born football player who is a member of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, has been ordered to stand trial on a serious criminal charge.
Reaves, 27, is accused of possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, court documents obtained by the Free Press show. He has been free on bail since being arrested by Winnipeg police during a traffic stop in early 2016.
Police also arrested a second man inside the vehicle, Seif Ali, who is facing the same allegations.
After a preliminary hearing in January, provincial court Judge Brian Corrin ruled there is sufficient evidence for both men to go to trial in Court of Queen’s Bench.
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.
Defence lawyer Mike Cook said Thursday Reaves plans to fight the case at trial, which is set to begin Nov. 20 and is slated for one week.
"Mr. Reaves adamantly denied the allegations upon his arrest. He maintains his innocence," Cook told the Free Press.
The Saskatchewan 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. We will decline to comment until we gather information," said Ryan Pollock, the team’s director of media relations.
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.
Reaves is the son of Willard Reaves, a former CFL running back who spent five seasons with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. His brother, Ryan, is a member of the St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League.
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.
Court documents show Reaves was charged in February 2008 with possession for the purpose of trafficking and breaching conditions of his bail. He pleaded guilty in December 2008 and was given a two-year-less-a-day conditional sentence, one year of supervised probation and a 10-year weapons prohibition.