Mini-bottles of booze, or airplane bottles, or, for the purpose of this post, nips are highly underrated. For one, they're inexpensive; Jim Beam should run you no more than $1.50 or so. Two, they're easy to smuggle into bars, making refilling glasses/corner chugging extra convenient. Three, they're easy to drink on the street because (or so I tell myself) everyone will just assume you're downing one of those 5-hour energy drinks. It seems as though 18 workers at JFK Airport are on my level, as they stand accused of stealing more than 100,000 of the nips from incoming American Airlines flights at JFK airport. As Gothamist reports:

Today Queens DA Richard Brown announced the arrest of 18 airport workers: fifteen present and former truck drivers employed by Sky Chef, the food and beverage subsidiary for American Airlines, and three security guards. They stand accused of pilfering more than 100,000 of the mini liquor bottles, "as well as duty-free items-such as larger bottles of liquor, perfume, and cartons of cigarettes-with an overall estimated retail value of more than $750,000."

This morning Port Authority investigators raided a retired airport truck driver's home, discovering between 500 and 600 trash bags filled with 100 mini-bottles each, plus $34,000 cash. Gothamist puts the street value of the bottles at close to $500,000.

The scam went like this: the unused bottles from each flight were stashed in plastic bags inside the worker's trucks instead of being returned to a JFK storage facility. The truck drivers then paid off three security guards with some of their loot in order to pass through security checks without thorough inspection. The drivers would then sell the bottles at reduced prices (55 cents for Bailey's and $1.25 for Courvoisier) to co-workers and other booze fences, who in turn sold the bottles to nearby bodegas for roughly $4 a bottle.

The undercover operation, perfectly named "Operation Last Call," included the buying of thousands of mini-bottles before authorites gathered enough information for arrrests.

The defendants will be charged with "third-degree bribe receiving, receiving a reward for official misconduct, second-, third- and fourth-degree grand larceny and second-, third- and fourth degree criminal possession of stolen property."

No official word, though, on what happens to all those nips.

[h/t @thee_zebulon//Image via Queens District Attorney's Office]