A strong recruiting effort has breathed new life into one of the country's most violent neo-Nazi groups, which dropped out of sight in the mid-80s.

The Idaho-based Aryan Nations has newly formed chapters in at least 18 states, according to a report released by Klanwatch, the investigative arm of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala.One of those chapters was formed in Layton in the summer of 1994. Klanwatch officials say there haven't been any incidents of violence linked to the Layton group, but the report warns the new movement could be more powerful and more dangerous than in the past.

Laurie Wood, who works for Klanwatch, said one thing that worries researchers most is that the Aryan Nations isn't just recruiting new members. It's forming alliances with other white supremacist groups, including one in Europe.

The recent membership surge is due largely to organized recruiting efforts.

"They sent out ambassadors-at-large," Wood said. "They leaflet towns. That's the easiest way to recruit."

In the past, those efforts to recruit new members were sporadic at best. But between 1993 and 1994, the Aryan Nations had spread from three states to 18.

"We haven't linked any activity to the Layton chapter," Wood said. Klanwatch doesn't know who heads the Utah chapter, nor does it have any estimates on the numbers of members.

Klanwatch called the Aryan Nation "the most dangerous white supremacist organization in the country." Wood said researchers are most worried about the group's history of spawning violent offshoots like The Order, which was responsible for a number of armored car robberies and murders in the early '80s.