DENVER -- Telephone taps and bugs planted by FBI agents in the home of at least one major American neo-Nazi figure show how an "underground" of racist and anti-Semitic leaders coordinated bank robberies, commando-style raids on armored cars, counterfeiting, murder and other crimes, according to federal court documents.

The material -- prepared for the sedition trial of 14 defendants scheduled to begin Feb. 16 in Fort Smith, Ark. -- alleges that, for almost a decade, leaders of Aryan Nations church groups in Idaho and Michigan managed to coordinate large numbers of crimes committed by hate groups to finance their activities.

Affidavits by FBI agents seeking approval to install the phone taps and listening devices secretly in the home of Robert Miles, a onetime Michigan Ku Klux Klan leader and now head of the anti-Semitic From the Mountain Church at Cohoctah, Mich., paint a picture of Miles' church and home as a command post and message center for a group called The Order.

Justice Department spokesman John Russell in Washington said the Federal Bureau of Investigation received court permission to enter Miles' home under the so-called Title III provisions of the Omnibus Crime Control Act of 1968, and added that "the courts have upheld surreptitious entry, saying that that's what Congress intended" under the act.

Reached by telephone at the number listed as having been tapped under the court order, Miles said the bugs were placed in his house last November when he was on a speaking tour. He said he found the devices this summer and "discarded them."

The alleged criminal activities cited in the FBI affidavits ranged from a thwarted plot by a small band of Ku Klux Klan members to take control of the virtually all-black Caribbean island nation of Dominica to bank robberies in Illinois, Missouri and North Dakota.

This hitherto unmentioned "underground leadership" allegedly coordinated such well-known crimes as the machine-gun assassination of Denver talk show host Alan Berg and raids by The Order on armored cars in California and Washington state that netted $4 million.

While dozens of people have been convicted in many of the well-publicized crimes also cited in the sedition case, the new material says these convictions were of "entry-level soldiers and non-coms" who were secretly led by Miles and a few other higher-ups, including the well-known neo-Nazi Rev. Richard Butler, who maintains a fenced-in compound near Hayden Lake, Idaho.

Others mentioned include Tom Metzger, a Klan leader in Fallbrook, Calif., active lately in the racist "skinhead" movement known as White Aryan Resistance; William Pierce, head of the Nazi-oriented National Alliance now headquartered at a compound in West Virginia; and Glenn Miller, a major North Carolina Klan leader recently convicted in a scheme to acquire military weapons for American hate groups from the U.S. Army.

An FBI affidavit dated Oct. 2, 1986, reads, "FBI investigation has shown that The Order continues to exist and is being led by Miles, Butler, Metzger, Pierce, Miller and others as yet unknown."

From that list, however, only Miles and Butler ultimately were indicted in the current seditious conspiracy case.

Federal wiretap records show hundreds of calls placed between Miles' Michigan house and leaders of known racist groups throughout the country, including Ku Klux Klan groups in Illinois.

A pamphlet written by Miles was cited in the affidavit to describe the command structure of the neo-Nazi groups.

That structure: "First Degree -- enlisted ranks; Second Degree -- noncommissioned officer ranks; Third Degree -- commissioned officer ranks; Fourth Degree -- general staff {nine members}."

Farris Genide, the Detroit-based FBI agent who wrote two of the affidavits, said the bureau had recruited 11 friends and associates of various underground leaders as informants and that the informants discovered the top echelons had developed a plan to set off bombs at federal buildings in five cities and then threaten to bomb more buildings unless several members of The Order were released from federal prisons.

One knowledgeable investigator said the targets apparently were federal appeals courts in Denver, Minneapolis, New Orleans, St. Louis and Kansas City, Mo.

The FBI's informants said three neo-Nazi "generals" met in Harrison, Ark., in May 1986 to discuss the jailbreak scheme, which allegedly would be financed by a counterfeiting scheme operated out of Muskogee, Okla. Among those the leaders wanted to free were 11 members of The Order imprisoned in the West Coast armored car robberies and Berg's murder.

The three involved in the planning were said to be Miles; Texas Klan leader Louis Beam, one of the codefendants in the upcoming sedition trial; and Col. Jack Mohr, an official of the Illinois-based anti-Semitic group called the Christian-Patriots Defense League, who was not charged in the indictments for the Fort Smith case.

Other informants outlined how large amounts of money taken in robberies of armored cars on the West Coast in 1985 were distributed among the neo-Nazi "generals," including Miles, Beam and Butler.

One of these informants was Zillah Craig, the mistress of Robert Jay Mathews, the neo-Nazi commando convicted of leading the armored car assaults. She described how she and Mathews made a cross-country tour in late 1984 to distribute the funds from a suitcase.

One codefendant in the Fort Smith trial, Bruce Carroll Pierce, who was convicted last month in Denver in the Berg murder, told the FBI that the group planned to give $300,000 to North Carolina Klan leader Miller, $200,000 to the California racist Metzger, $50,000 to William Pierce {no relation}, $40,000 to Butler and an unspecified "large sum of money" to Miles.

Another former Order member, Randall Radar, who helped train the commando squad in combat tactics, told the FBI that Mathews had told him he gave $300,000 to Miles.

Another informant told how Mathews even tried to give $500 to imprisoned Joseph Paul Franklin, who was convicted of the sniper killing of a racially mixed couple in Utah.

Other informants described a meeting in 1985 at which Miles, Butler, Beam and other movement leaders said they had learned that Mathews had given $1 million of the loot to an unknown Denver lawyer who agreed to invest the funds so that Mathews, in case he ever was arrested, would have income once his sentence was over.

The neo-Nazis apparently concluded that after Mathews was killed in December 1984 during a shootout with the FBI on Whidbey Island, Wash., the lawyer simply kept the money.

An informant designated only as FBI-7 said Miles had told a group of people at one Order meeting that "the identity of each attorney in the Denver area was being ascertained and eliminated as possessing the money."

The report continues: "FBI-7 was unable to provide specific information as to how this was being done."