A Texarkana man arrested after a high speed chase with police that ended when he flipped his weapons-filled truck along Arkansas Blvd. pleaded guilty to three felonies Friday.
Earnest Ralph Lomax, aka Skip, was arrested March 24 after selling a fully automatic machine gun and a dead man’s grenade to an undercover operative. Investigators with the Bi-State Narcotics Task Force were conducting undercover buys of methamphetamine from Lomax when he offered to sell weapons and an explosive as well, according to federal court documents.
Lomax sold the machine gun and dead man’s grenade, so called because it explodes immediately when the pin is pulled, to an undercover agent March 24. Because of concern Lomax might have other explosives and weapons he could sell illegally, agents with Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives along with officers of the BSNTF moved in to arrest him.
Lomax responded to the lights and sirens behind him by accelerating his red truck to speeds of more than 80 miles per hour during a short chase that ended on Arkansas Blvd. when Lomax’s truck flipped upside down. About 30 people were evacuated from a church near the wreck as a precaution.
In the truck, officers discovered a cache of weapons that Lomax’s prior felony conviction made it illegal for him to have. Seized were six pistols, one of which had a filed off serial number, and some unidentified pills.
At a hearing before U.S. District Judge Susan Hickey in the Texarkana Division of the Western District of Arkansas on Friday morning, Lomax entered pleas of guilty to three of six counts listed in a federal indictment with the help of a federal public defender. Lomax admitted to selling methamphetamine in January and to possessing the guns and grenade in March.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wulff said the government has agreed to ask for dismissal of the remaining three charges at sentencing as part of Lomax’s plea arrangement. Those charges include possession of a gun with an obliterated serial number and possession of weapons which are required to be registered with the federal government.
Lomax faces up to five years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 for possession of the grenade. He could receive up to 10 years and a fine of $250,000 for being a convicted felon in possession of a gun. The meth distribution charge is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $1 million.
Hickey told Lomax she will schedule his case for sentencing once she has received a report from federal pretrial services officers. The report will include details about Lomax’s life and a recommendation for sentencing under federal guidelines. Hickey said the report takes about 90 days to complete and that Lomax’s sentencing hearing will be set sometime after that.
Lomax is currently in the custody of federal marshals