Prosecutors see Steward's testimony as an important component in their case against Garcia, even though he has admitted committing perjury twice two years ago when he testified before a federal grand jury investigating the DEA agents. At the time, he denied that he had any knowledge that Jackson and Garcia were trafficking in drugs.
Steward admitted in August that he lied twice before the federal grand jury to protect Jackson and because he did not think federal investigators had enough evidence to convict him and the agents.
"Most everything I said was a lie," Steward testified.
Steward now maintains that Jackson came to him in 1983 with a proposition to traffic in a "girl," his street jargon for a kilo of cocaine. The two men had just completed their undercover investigation of the Mafia family and Jackson was returning to Los Angeles to resume work on other cases.
"(He) told me that he was going to send me a kilo of cocaine, a little girl," Steward recalled. "Actually, I didn't believe it fully until it came."
Steward said he assured his friend J.J. that he could turn the kilo over to his New York network and his people would sell it on the street. He said the kilo from Jackson soon arrived at Steward's Brooklyn residence, in waterproof brown wrapping.
By 1984, Steward said, more drugs were sent to him by Jackson. Under questioning from rosecutor Karlin, Steward recounted how the federal agents used sleight of hand to steal drugs from the DEA property room vault.
Steward testified that Jackson and his partner, whom he did not identify, used a ploy to divert the property clerk's attention, and then stole the drugs.
"Now, I don't know which one did the flimflamming, but they flimflammed somebody down in the property room," Steward said.
Steward said he did not meet Garcia until 1986, when he was in New York preparing for the Mafia trial. Steward testified that while standing in a parking lot next to the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan, he gave Jackson $9,000 from a cocaine sale while Garcia watched.
Karlin: And what did you see Mr. Jackson do with the money?
Steward: He handed it to Mr. Garcia.
Karlin: And did you see what Mr. Garcia did with that money?
Steward: Yes. He put it in his pocket.
Karlin: And did Mr. Garcia say anything at that time?
Steward: Yes, he would like to get some more Federal Express packages.
Subtracting his commission, Steward testified that he would mail the cash profits back to Jackson and Garcia via express mail. Some of the illicit cash was addressed to Jackson at the DEA's Los Angeles office, he said, and some of it went to Jackson's post office box in the same building.
Mark E. Overland, one of Garcia's two defense attorneys, said Steward is a liar, citing his perjured testimony before the grand jury.
"If I were a juror, I wouldn't believe anything he says," Overland said.
Garcia, incarcerated at the federal Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles, declined to be interviewed for this story.
Garcia's attorneys must persuade a jury that his lifestyle--which included an expensive home and approximately $3 million currently frozen in Luxembourg bank accounts--was generated largely through jewelry smuggling and related business for an Italian firm.
"It's pretty obvious where the money came from--jewelry transactions, including some smuggling," Overland said. "That accounts for all of the $3 million. There's no drug money."
Government prosecutors contend the $3 million represents drug trafficking profits.
Because he was extradited by Luxembourg on drug trafficking-related counts, Garcia cannot currently be charged with jewelry smuggling.
Garcia also is charged in the indictment with passing on DEA intelligence information to fugitive drug dealers.
"He helped them move money," Steward said. "He also helped them avoid being caught."
Steward said that Garcia had an FBI contact who provided Garcia with information that helped one of the drug dealers avoid arrest on one occasion in downtown Los Angeles.
"Well," Steward said, "there was a little laughing joke that (the FBI) just missed (one of the fugitives) on South Figueroa Street. They went in one door and he came out the other."
An FBI spokesman in Los Angeles said the agency had no comment on Steward's testimony.
Steward said he decided to tell the truth because he was convinced that the government had built a solid case against him and the DEA agents.
"In plain language," Steward said, "they got us."