Results are presented of experiments on ion production from Ta targets using a short pulse (350–600 ps in focus) illumination with focal power densities exceeding 1014 Wcm-2 at the wavelength of an iodine photodissociation laser (1.315 μm) and its harmonics. Strong evidence of the existence of tantalum ions with the charge state +45 near the target surface was obtained by X-ray spectroscopy methods. The particle diagnostics point to the existence of frozen high charge states (<53+) of Ta ions in the far expansion zone at about 2 m from the target. The measured charge state-ion energy distribution indicates the highest energy (>4 MeV) for the highest observed charge states. A tentative theoretical explanation of the observed anomalous charge state freezing phenomenon in the expanding plasma produced by a subnanosecond laser pulse is given.