Federal Judge Sandy Mattice on Monday sentenced a security guard for a Chattanooga "pill mill" operation to 12 months and a day.
The judge said the way the sentence was fashioned would allow Kenneth Edwards to get out earlier.
He noted that Edwards could have been facing up to 14 years in federal prison had prosecutors chosen to charge him with being part of the conspiracy.
Prosecutor Gregg Sullivan agreed that the government had that option.
Attorney Joe DeGaetano said Edwards never carried a gun, and he said he worked with agents. He said he wore a microphone and recorded a number of conversations with other targets in the probe.
Prosecutor Sullivan said Edwards was a security guard at Superior One Pain Clinic, then at Elite Care Pain Clinic. He said the clinics operated on a cash only basis and distributed pills on a free-wheeling basis.
He said clients would line up in the parking lot and there would be "an open drug market" outside.