PORTLAND – A podiatrist from Cumberland was released on $1,000 bail Friday after pleading not guilty to a cocaine possession charge.

But the legal problems could be just beginning for Dr. John Perry, who is the target of an investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, according to court documents.

Perry, 49, runs Atlantic Foot & Ankle Center in Portland. Federal drug agents raided the office Wednesday and were seen removing boxes from the building on outer Congress Street. Perry’s house also was searched by agents from the DEA, the FBI, the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency and Cumberland police.

The searches followed a traffic stop early Wednesday on Greely Road in Cumberland. State, federal and local officers pulled over Perry’s Mazda sedan and told him he was required to submit to a search, according to a report filed in Cumberland County Superior Court by special agent Philip Robinson of the MDEA.

Perry had been arrested on a drunken-driving charge in April. On Oct. 29, he pleaded guilty and entered into a deferred disposition, meaning the charge would be reduced to a driving-to-endanger conviction if he stayed out of trouble for one year.

According to Robinson’s report, the agreement signed by Perry gave police the right to search his vehicle and home at any time, without probable cause.

Inside the Mazda, police said they found a gram of cocaine. Robinson said he also found “a note pad with suspected drug notes, a blank prescription sheet, and business documents pertaining to the Dreamers Cabaret gentlemen’s club in Westbrook.”

It’s unclear whether the Dreamers documents have any relevance to the investigation of Perry. Officials with the DEA, the MDEA and the U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to answer questions about the case Friday.

Larry Ferrante, the owner of Dreamers, has been in a dispute with the city of Westbrook over the club on Warren Avenue. The club opened Sept. 17 but was shut down the next day for code violations.

The Westbrook City Council recently approved an ordinance that would allow the club to operate under tight restrictions, including a no-alcohol provision and a ban on total nudity.

On Friday, Ferrante said he doesn’t know Perry and doesn’t know why documents related to Dreamers would have been in the doctor’s car.

“He’s not a member of the Ferrante Group in any way, shape or form,” Ferrante said, referring to the backers of the club. “This is news to me. I’ve got to find out what Dreamers papers he had, and how they got there.”

Thomas Hallett and Michael Whipple of the Hallett Law Firm in Portland represented Perry during his court appearance. Hallett also represents Dreamers. He said his appearance on behalf of Perry was unrelated to his representation of the club. Whipple said the firm got involved in Perry’s case because Whipple’s father is executive director of the Maine Foot and Ankle Society. Perry is well known in that professional organization.

Hallett said he has no specific information about the federal investigation of Perry.

The DEA, while focusing largely on illegal drug distribution, also monitors volumes of legal drugs that are prescribed by health professionals and enforces laws against diversion of those drugs for illicit use.

According to Robinson’s report, several documents of interest to the U.S. Attorney’s Office were found during the search of Perry’s home. Robinson did not specify the nature of the documents, but said they were set aside “pending a search warrant for their seizure and inspection.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office also applied for a warrant to conduct a full search of Perry’s car.

“We don’t have all the facts yet,” Hallett said. “I don’t know exactly what they’re looking for, and until we talk to the assistant U.S. attorney in charge of the case, we just don’t know.”

Hallett said Perry is an excellent podiatrist and a longstanding member of the community in Greater Portland. “We expect when we get through it all that he’ll be vindicated,” he said.

Perry has children and is divorced, Hallett said. Two of Perry’s relatives were in court Friday and referred questions to Perry’s attorneys. Whipple said the most important matter was getting Perry out of jail.

“We’re mainly concerned about getting him through this horrific experience, and just making sure he is connected with his family, and that he feels safe,” Whipple said.

According to the website for Atlantic Foot & Ankle, Perry trained at Harvard Medical School and is a sports team member for the annual Beach to Beacon road race. He is on staff at Maine Medical Center, Mercy Hospital and the New England Rehabilitation Hospital.

Before his arrest Wednesday, Perry had no criminal record except for the drunken-driving charge in April.

He was disciplined in 2003 by the state’s Board of Licensure of Podiatric Medicine in connection with violating professional standards in a doctor-patient relationship in 2001, according to the board’s website.

He agreed to enroll in a medical ethics program and maintain a log of all narcotics prescriptions of 20 or more tablets, and to submit the log for board review for the next year.

Perry is scheduled to appear in court Feb. 9 for a status conference on his case.

Staff Writer Trevor Maxwell can be contacted at 791-6451 or at:

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