Assistant state attorney in Brevard arrested in undercover drug bust

By Andrew O'Brien and Greg Pallone, Team Coverage
Last Updated: Thursday, March 09, 2017, 5:13 PM EST

An assistant state attorney in Brevard and Seminole counties was arrested Wednesday night after he allegedly purchased drugs during an undercover operation in a Lowe's parking lot in Rockledge, officials said Thursday.

  • Assistant state attorney accused of buying Roxicodone pills
  • John Toppa III was an assistant state attorney out of Melbourne
  • He was hired by the State Attorney's Office in 2013
  • Toppa was fired by State Attorney's Office Thursday morning

John Toppa III, 29, of Melbourne, was arrested by the Brevard County Sheriff's Office's special investigations unit at about 6:30 p.m. He reportedly purchased Roxicodone pills valued at $200 during an undercover operation.

According to an arrest report, Toppa purchased 10 Roxicodone pills while in the Lowe's parking lot at 3790 S. Fiske Blvd. in Rockledge. 

"Once we made the arrest, we notified the State Attorney's Office," said Tod Goodyear with the Sheriff's Office.

Toppa was charged with purchase of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was taken to the Brevard County Jail, where he posted $11,500 bond and was released Thursday morning.

Toppa served as an assistant state attorney with the 18th Judicial Circuit of Florida, which covers Brevard and Seminole counties. Toppa was assigned to a felony trial division and was hired in 2013.

Toppa's employment with the office was terminated as of 8 a.m. Thursday, State Attorney Phil Archer said in a statement.

Deputies recovered additional suspected drugs from Toppa's vehicle, according to a news release.

"Our office is fully cooperating with the Brevard County Sheriff's Office in the continuing investigation into these allegations, including an immediate internal audit of all criminal cases assigned to Toppa," Archer said.

"As we have seen in countless cases, the pill epidemic affects all families and professions. However, as public servants sworn to uphold the rule of law, every member of my office has a responsibility to perform their duties with honestly and integrity," Archer said.

Archer requested Gov. Rick Scott to appoint another state attorney to handle the prosecution of the case.

Investigators said Toppa took responsibility for his actions. He is out of jail after posting an $11,000 bond.

"I feel bad for the person that he has that addiction," Goodyear said. "It just goes to show that it doesn't matter what role in life you play, you can become addicted to drugs. And it's very tough to defeat."