A major Suffolk heroin dealer who killed an associate in September 2008 was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison Thursday, prosecutors said.

Gilberto "Macho" Rivera, 28, of Oakdale, pleaded guilty in April to murder, robbery and drug-dealing charges.

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He admitted in Suffolk Criminal Court in Riverhead to shooting friend and fellow drug dealer Luis Maldonado, 27, of Bay Shore, in the head and setting his Chevy TrailBlazer on fire.

He also admitted to dealing large quantities of heroin, cocaine, marijuana and other drugs.

Suffolk prosecutors said Rivera was the largest heroin dealer in Suffolk County at the time of his arrest.

Rivera had a dispute with Maldonado related to drug dealing and lured him to a secluded spot off the Long Island Expressway in Holtsville, where he shot him in the head and stomach and set a propane tank in his SUV on fire, prosecutors said. He was arrested shortly afterward in Florida.

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He also stole $30,000 in cash and jewelry from another drug dealer a few days before the murder, prosecutors said.