As many as 80 police officers, wearing camouflage and carrying high-power rifles and pistols, encircled a white supremacist group's compound in the Ozark Mountains yesterday and demanded that its leader surrender.

Reporters were ordered to move back three miles from the 224-acre encampment of the Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord (CSA). Roadblocks were set up on dirt roads, and officers searched vehicles leaving the area.

Authorities said a federal warrant charged the leader, Jim Ellison, 44, with firearms violations.

Earlier yesterday, group member Kerry Noble was taken outside the compound for a 2 1/2-hour talk in a state police car. Returning to the encampment in northeastern Arkansas, he described his talks with state police investigator Gene Irby as negotiations but would not elaborate.

Authorities in Arkansas and Missouri have been searching the Ozarks along the state line for David Tate, 22, of Athol, Idaho, since Monday night, when Missouri Trooper Jimmie Linegar was gunned down during a routine traffic stop.

Tate, a reputed member of the neo-Nazi group The Order, was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder. He has been indicted on racketeering charges in connection with alleged group activities. Noble said Thusday that Tate was not at the CSA compound or connected with the group.