Martin ‘Butch’ Beirne died when the drugs he had swallowed in condoms ruptured while he was in a South American hotel room. Gardai believe he was in Venezuela to collect cocaine on behalf of a major Sligo based drugs gang, led by 30-year-old Patrick Irwin, who control drug dealing in the north west. Irwin, of St Joseph's Terrace, Sligo, was jailed for seven years last year after being caught with €67,000 worth of cocaine. Irwin's mob, which includes his brothers Hughie and Thomas, are closely linked to major criminal gangs in Dublin and Limerick. Two other Irish nationals travelling with Beirne were arrested and are being held in jail in the Venezuelan capital Caracas where they are due to face drugs trafficking charges. The Irwins were business associates of murdered crime boss Eamon Dunne and the feared Limerick crime faction, the Keane/Collopys. Associates of Hughie and Patrick Irwin are believed to have carried out the murders of Traveller criminal Hughie McGinley in 2005 and armed robber David Lynch in 2008.
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