After secretly trailing a German neo-Nazi fugitive on his journey from Washington state to West Virginia, the U.S. Marshals Service arrested the convicted murderer near the 200-acre property of white separatist William Pierce, author of "The Turner Diaries," authorities announced yesterday.

Hendrik Albert Viktor Moebus was convicted in Germany in 1994 with two accomplices of murder and kidnapping. He was apprehended Saturday near Lewisburg, W.Va., about 20 miles from Pierce's property, where he had been living for several weeks, officials said.

Moebus, 24, was convicted as a minor of luring another teenager, described as "non-Aryan," into an apartment and strangling him. Paroled in 1998 after serving two-thirds of his sentence, Moebus violated the terms of his release by making extremist comments about the murder victim and giving a Nazi salute during right-wing gatherings in Germany.

He publicly declared his intent to avoid arrest and questioned whether the killing he committed was a crime, officials said. Last December, Moebus entered the United States while a warrant for his arrest was pending in Germany. The German Federal Ministry of Justice soon asked the U.S. Marshals Service for help in locating and arresting him.

The marshals determined that Moebus had entered the United States through Seattle without using an alias and had gone to Spokane, Wash. At some point he began using an alias and had help from various people, federal officials said.

"He left a trail," said Chris Dudley, the senior inspector who headed the investigation for the Marshals Service.

Moebus traveled from Spokane to Richmond, parts of Ohio and ultimately to West Virginia, where he lived in one of the buildings on Pierce's 200-acre compound. Pierce, founder of the National Alliance, wrote "The Turner Diaries," a novel that received national attention after it was revealed that Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh avidly read and promoted the book's white supremacist message.

There are similarities between the 1995 bombing of the Murrah federal building and a scene in "The Turner Diaries" describing the preparation of a bomb to destroy FBI headquarters. The novel includes the violent overthrow of the U.S. government and the systematic killing of Jews and nonwhites to establish an "Aryan" world.

Last Saturday, as a group of deputy marshals watched, Moebus left the Pierce property as a passenger in a car. He got out of the vehicle about 20 miles away and was arrested immediately near Lewisburg. Moebus did not resist arrest and no weapons were found in the vehicle, Dudley said.

An arrest warrant was issued in federal court in Spokane in early July after marshals located a man they believed to be Moebus living in Loon Lake, Wash.

"We had corroboration from a couple of sources he was up there," Dudley said. The marshals kept him under surveillance and followed him to Pierce's property, where they waited about two weeks before making the arrest to ensure they had the right man, Dudley noted.

"Patience paid off," Dudley said, adding that he was pleased the Marshals Service cracked a case that the German government regarded as "important."

"The U.S. marshals did a great job," a spokesman for the German Embassy said yesterday. "We have very close cooperation with U.S. authorities regarding fighting right-wing extremism."