Ex-A former longtime city cop is facing drug charges after more than a dozen marijuana plants were found in his East Kildonan home.

Bill VanderGraaf, a former staff sergeant in the major crimes unit, was arrested April 25 and released on a promise to appear.

VanderGraaf, 56, has been charged with production and possession of marijuana.

Reached at his home, VanderGraaf said the marijuana was for personal use, not for sale.

"It's a personal health issue, that's all," he said. "I'm a little reluctant to say any more. I'm just sorry to find myself in this position."

A source said officers with the city police "green team" found between 14 and 20 marijuana plants in the basement of VanderGraaf's house.

A police service spokeswoman could not comment on the charges late yesterday afternoon.

VanderGraaf, whose long career included time in the homicide and robbery division, retired from the police service in 2001 to become an investigator with Manitoba Public Insurance. He has since left that position.

VanderGraaf returned to the police limelight last summer as a witness at the James Driskell inquiry. VanderGraaf was the lead investigator in the 1990 murder of Perry Harder, the man Driskell was wrongfully convicted of killing.

VanderGraaf made his first court appearance on Tuesday. He will return to court Aug. 7.