Undercover police officers pretend to be members of a fake criminal organization. They attempt to "recruit" a suspect to the fake gang in order to get him or her to confess to prior crimes.
The officers slowly build their suspect's trust, and ask him to do increasingly important jobs for the organization. In the end, the officers introduce their suspect to the fictitious leader of the organization. The so-called "Mr. Big" then tells the suspect that the gang can help him, but only if he recounts his entire criminal experience.
Rather than landing the potential gangster a role in a criminal organization, however, those confessions can send them to jail.
Remember Jake Friedberg, who (according to Watkins) put Paul up in a hotel suite for three days then vanished? Could it have been an early police "Mr Big" sting? Think about it... Paul is invited to meet 'Mr Big'. He wines and dines him, brags about the crimes they commit while making him comfortable enough to share his exploits to gain acceptance into their group. They tell him that they want to branch out and since Charlie is in jail they need Paul to be the new connection. But first, can they trust Paul? They want to get him to admit to some crimes in order to gain their trust and then... busted. But he didn't know anything he didn't already tell the LAPD, so they vanished and nobody knows who they were or where they went. By the way, this tactic is illegal in the United States, so it will never come out if that was actually what they were up to.
Below is a short excerpt from Paul's book, MY LIFE WITH CHARLES MANSON - by PAUL WATKINS and Guillermo Soledad (if you'd like to download a PDF of the book, CLICK HERE). It deals with Paul's encounter with Friedberg beginning on page 187:
After that episode, things happened fast. Later that same week I was coming out of the court building when a dapper little guy sporting a goatee and dressed in a double-breasted suit approached me, saying he was a lawyer and wanted to ask me a few questions. I walked with him to a chauffeured limousine and we drove up to Hollywood. He introduced himself as Jake Friedberg, saying he just wanted some information about the Family and that he'd make it worth my while to provide it. He asked if I'd mind staying at the Continental Hyatt House for a couple of days, and when I said no, he made a reservation for me in the penthouse. I spent two days there telling him what I knew; on the morning of the third day, as I was leaving the hotel, I was paged to the phone. It was Crockett; I'd called him the day I arrived and left my number.
His voice was hard and clear, like a pick against granite.
"Where the hell you been?"
"I been tryin' to get you. D.A.'s office called us up and said that guy Friedberg is a Mafia man... somethin' about La Bianca's connection with the syndicate... he say anything about it?"
There was a long pause. Then Crockett spoke. "Where you tryin' to take yourself anyway, oblivion?"
I didn't answer. I didn't know.
"When you comin' out to the desert?"
"It won't be long."
I waited [for] Friedberg to come back, but he didn't. And I never saw him again.