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U.S. Customs official faces domestic abuse charges in City of Tonawanda

A supervisor for U.S. Customs and & Border Protection in Buffalo has been accused of assault and imprisonment of his estranged wife.

Steven Weakland, 45, faces charges of third-degree assault, second-degree unlawful imprisonment and second-degree harassment, based on a complaint about an incident in a home on Canton Street, Tonawanda city police said.

The assault and imprisonment charges are misdemeanors, and the harassment charge is a violation.

Weakland appeared in court March 24, pleaded not guilty, and was released on his own recognizance by Judge Joseph J. Cassata, police said. Weakland is scheduled to appear again on April 30.

David G. Long, Buffalo spokesman for U.S. Customs, said Weakland, a Customs employee for 23 years, is currently on limited duty. He declined to comment further, saying it is a matter for Tonawanda authorities.

Two other law enforcement officials said Weakland was working in Buffalo on Wednesday. The officials said Weakland is a watch commander and “chief” who supervises operations at international bridges.

Tonawanda police were called to the Canton Street home after a disturbance there at around 7:30 p.m. March 6, according to a police report. The alleged victim of the assault told officers that Weakland is her “soon-to-be-ex-husband.”

The 37-year-old woman reported that she was visiting a female friend’s home in Tonawanda and was sitting on top of a kitchen counter when Weakland arrived at the home, entered through a rear door and pulled her off the counter. The woman told police that Weakland dragged her outside by her arm, and tried to force her down the driveway into his waiting truck.

Weakland finally drove away after she refused to get into the truck, the woman told police. A warrant was issued for Weakland’s arrest after the woman gave a statement to detectives, and a witness was interviewed, Police Capt. Fredric Foels said.

The Buffalo News was unable to reach Weakland or his attorney on Wednesday; messages were left at both of their offices.

Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III said he is aware of the arrest.

“This case will be prosecuted like any other domestic violence case,” Sedita said. “The fact that the defendant is a member of law enforcement makes no difference to us, one way or another. He will be treated no more leniently, or no more harshly than any other defendant.”

email: dherbeck@buffnews.com