Tonawanda News

Local News

March 9, 2006

Drugs, theft charges in Holka's past

Alleged rapist also charged in prescription drug scam

North Tonawanda, NY — Though Tuesday’s charges of rape, assault and arson are the most violent brought against Joseph Holka, they are far from the first.

Holka, 21, who stands accused of a brutal assault on two children and burning their home in his Wheatfield neighborhood, also has faced charges of theft, criminal mischief, petit larceny, possession of controlled substance, sale of a controlled substance and possession of stolen property during the past few years, with the latter three cases still pending. Holka also previously had been arrested for failing to appear in court to face several of those charges.

The charges of sale of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and possession of stolen property came as part of an alleged father-son prescription drug scheme that Holka and his father, Douglas, are accused of running. The two were arrested after an Eckerd drug store pharmacist noticed a suspicious prescription.

“Basically, what they were doing is they were taking stolen prescription blanks and filling them out and taking them to different pharmacies and having them filled,” said North Tonawanda Police Captain William Hall, who worked on the case in conjunction with the Niagara County Drug Task Force and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Other charges may have existed against Holka, but Niagara County has not yet run a full rap sheet detailing his criminal history, according to Niagara County Sheriff Thomas Beilein’s office.

Holka’s lawyer, Michael Stuermer of Lipsitz, Green, Fahringer, Roll, Salisbury & Cambria LLP in Buffalo, stressed that it is early in the investigation and not a time to jump to conclusions.

“These are very serious charges,” Stuermer said. “We’re in the process of undertaking our own investigation, and it’s obviously very early in the proceeding.”

Holka is scheduled for a hearing Tuesday, when it will be determined whether he should be kept in confinement.

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