For weeks, writer Pete Crooks received dozens of emails from the mysterious Rutherford alleging Chris Butler was a fraud and a drug dealer. Who is Ronald Rutherford?
"I'm Ronald Rutherford," Carol Marino told Maureen Maher.
That's right. Carl Marino was Rutherford.
Chris Butler's No. 2 man -- the director of operations for the agency- had exposed the dark side of Butler's operation.
"Did you suspect it was Carl?" Maureen Maher asked Pete Crooks.
"When I got the initial email from Ronald Rutherford... no I didn't," he replied.
"Are you curious about the motivation of Rutherford?"
In his old life as a cop, Marino says he spent his entire career fighting drugs. He says turning in Butler and Wielsch was simply the right thing to do.
"I'd like to say it was the good person in me," Marino said. "It definitely had a lot to do with the cop in me.
"Literally it was that day when I first saw those drugs that I knew I was gonna do something about it. I had no idea what it was, how I was gonna do it, when I was gonna do it. But knowing where those drugs came from, I knew something had to be done."
"I want to know-- were you-- terrified wearing a wire?" Maher asked Marino.
"Oh, yeah," he replied.
"I mean -- you're not just dealing with a guy who's-- an incredible scam artist who's scheming constantly. Now you're dealing with, allegedly, a drug dealer, who's allegedly got the head of Narcotics on his side. I-- there's not-- a lot of safe places to run outside of that."
"Well, I think that the scariest part about it is I'm filming -- the master of stings," Marino said. "Kinda the same way that he would do it."
"Is it too dramatic to ask if you were afraid for your life?"
"If those guys had found out what I was doing...there was no doubt in my mind that they would have killed me,' said Marino.
That's why, as Rutherford, he confided in Pete Crooks who put him in touch with the California Department of Justice.
"Did you feel like Rutherford was disseminating the information because it was the right thing to do or because he was afraid he was gonna get sucked into it... or he was trapped?" Maher asked Crooks.
"Both," he replied. "He said straight up in that first email-'I'm not a drug dealer' and I'm not gonna sell the drugs for Chris...But I can't tell him 'no I'm not interested in doing that' because he trusted him enough to let him in on the big secret... and Norm and Chris were scary guys, you know, to be in that position...so my feeling was that Rutherford was doing something very brave and doing the right thing."
But why would Chris Butler allegedly get involved in selling drugs? In a lengthy statement obtained by "48 Hours," Butler puts the blame squarely on his old pal, the boss of the county narcotics task force, Norm Wielsch.
Butler itemizes more than 20 crimes that he says Wielsch forced him to commit. For example:
"Wielsch instructed me to sell this marijuana for $1500 per half pound bag."
"Wielsch instructed me to sell the Oxycontin for $25-$40 per pill."
Norm Wielsch is accepting some responsibility.
"I feel horrible that I did this... anybody that knows me would know that it's not me... and I want to admit to what I've done... and I just want people to know that I'm very truly sorry," he told Maher.
"Forget the P.I. Moms... forget "Dr. Phil", People, all that other stuff... Putting drugs back on the street...that's really, really hard to swallow," said Maher.
"It really is, for me too...it's really difficult for me to look at that shame every day-I did it," he said.
Wielsch, who's out on bail, says he'd been ill for several years and became easy prey for Butler when a debilitating nerve disorder, disfiguring his feet, threatened to end his career.
"I made these decisions on my own...and I don't want to make it that I'm blaming anybody," Wielsch said, "but inside my heart I do feel like I've been manipulated and that I've been used."
Something Wielsch's attorney Michael Cardoza says Butler is very capable of.
"... is he guilty of manipulating every single one of these people? The P.I. Moms? Carl Marino? Norm? Is he guilty of puppeteering this entire situation?" Maher asked Cardoza.
"I think he really is guilty of that... if there were such a crime," he replied. "He did manipulate everyone from the get go. Chris Butler's a very intelligent man... He understands people... he understands how to use people...he understands how to groom people and to bring them along slowly... 'what will you do here for me? Will you do this? All right...you'll do that...will you do this now? Well, if you'll do that then let's take the big step into crime...will you get some marijuana for me?' And that's what Norm stepped into..."
Asked if he thinks Chris Butler is a dangerous man, Norm Wielsch told Maher, "No, I don't think a dangerous man."
"... but a man who can talk a cop -- a good cop -- into committing crimes, and he can puppeteer all these other people into lying and manipulating. Is that a dangerous man?" Maher asked Cardoza.
"I think it makes him a sociopath," he replied. "...you have Butler out there dealing with the television show, fooling the producers of that, fooling the people who we spoke to, People magazine, fooling Peter Crooks at Diablo magazine...fooling Dr. Phil... going on the "Today" show and fooling them...a lot of people were manipulated by him."
For P.I. Mom Ami Wiltz, she feels nothing but betrayal - and says she knew nothing about the alleged drug deals.
"It was humiliating to find out he was doing these things right under our noses," Wiltz said. "I guess I just wish he would have fired me or told me go, instead of dragging me into this. Fortunately I didn't know he was a criminal so I was not involved in anything illegal."
Believe it or not, there's still one more outrageous chapter to Chris Butler's dark story.