Ex-fugitive admits gun violation No. 6 on most-wanted list was captured in the city in August.

October 29, 1991|By Kelly Gilbert | Kelly Gilbert,Evening Sun Staff

The former No. 6 man on the U.S. Marshals' Service 15 Most Wanted list has pleaded guilty to a federal weapons count stemming from his arrest in Baltimore in August.

Michael Antonio Lucas, 31, entered the plea to Judge Frederic N. Smalkin in U.S. District Court in Baltimore yesterday as he was scheduled to go on trial.

Another man, Freddie Artis, 32, who was with Lucas when he was arrested, pleaded guilty to two counts of being a felon in possession of firearms and one count of harboring a fugitive. Artis pleaded in a plea bargain with federal prosecutors Bonnie S. Greenberg and Robert E. Sims.

Lucas faces a sentence of 15 years to life in prison without parole on the weapons charge.

Artis, whose criminal record includes an armed robbery conviction, faces a no-parole sentence of up to 10 years. Greenberg said the government will seek an enhanced sentence that would increase Artis' prison sentence.

Smalkin scheduled sentencing hearings for both men Jan. 22.

Lucas, a convicted murderer, was captured shortly after he was featured on the television program "America's Most Wanted."

He had been a fugitive since he escaped with three other inmates last November from a county prison in Pearsall, Texas, where he had been serving 20 years to life for stabbing a man to death in the District of Columbia in 1984.

Lucas had been sent to the Texas prison from Lorton Reformatory, the District of Columbia's prison in Northern Virginia.

Authorities said that when Lucas was captured he was suspected of selling drugs in Baltimore, but no drug charges were filed against him.

Marshals hunted Lucas after his Texas escape, but the effort stalled until his story was aired on the "America's Most Wanted" television show July 12 and viewers gave authorities information on his whereabouts.

Lucas was captured at Monument and Milton streets Aug. 12 after tipsters told authorities he had been seen in Baltimore in a green van. His arrest was the first in the city during Operation Sunrise, an organized effort by U.S. marshals and other law enforcement officials that targeted violent fugitives in Baltimore and four other East Coast metropolitan areas.

After the arrests, marshals confiscated a loaded semiautomatic pistol that was in Lucas' right front pocket, along with a 9mm Cobra Mach II semiautomatic pistol and two bulletproof vests the found in the back seat of Artis' van.

Artis owned both weapons, prosecutors said.

Lucas also faces charges in arrest warrants issued in Texas and Virginia.

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