A Claiborne County man, who played a minor role in a major meth-trafficking conspiracy and was allowed to plead to a greatly reduced offense, left federal court in Knoxville Thursday with a relatively light sentence, but he’s already paid dearly, and the pain isn’t over, according to court documents.

Carl D. Rosenbalm, 46, was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison, but he could lop as much as a year off the term if he completes a 500-hour substance-abuse class while incarcerated. Robinson did not cooperate with law enforcement, so he received no sentence reduction related to substantial assistance.

While Rosenbalm began using methamphetamine at age 17, this was his first conviction, his attorney, Knoxville lawyer Donny M. Young represented in the defense sentencing memorandum.

A federal grand jury indicted Rosenbalm and 19 others for conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of meth in a high-volume operation that was headed by Claiborne County resident Leonard Brown and his top associate, Derrick Seals.

That offense carries a presumptive 10-year minimum-mandatory sentence, but Rosenbalm actually got two drops, and was allowed to plea guilty to conspiracy to distribute less than 5 grams.

Rosenbalm has been on pretrial release since June 2018, but his arrest cost him the machinist job he’d had for 20 years. At the time Rosenbalm was indicted, he was earning $7,000 a month. He’s had problems finding a job since his arrest, and the revelation that he’s been addicted to methamphetamine for 29 years has strained his relationship with his two children, according to his attorney.

“He also faces the possibility that he may lose his home if he is incarcerated … Mr. Rosenbalm’s criminal conduct was limited in scope,” the sentencing memo states.