He and his cousin Baldo Amato were brought to the United States by Carmine Galante in the early 1970's and rose to become an
underboss of the "Zips" (Zips is a word given to those who immigrated from Sicily.
The name is said to have originated from mobsters' inability to understand the faster-speaking
Sicilian dialects, which appeared to "zip" by) after his arrival.
Galante had the men brought over because he felt he could only trust classic Sicilians from the old world. Bonventre was present in 1979 at the Brooklyn restaurant where Galante was shot and killed by members of his own organisation. Although both he and Baldo Amato survived the massacre,
Bonventre was arrested by federal agents a week later and was eventually released.
It is believed that Bonventre actually was in the plot to kill Galante because there were bullets found on the floor which
belonged to his gun.
Becoming a member of the Brooklyn "crew" under Bonanno capo Salvatore Catalano, he was
involved in the importation and drug trafficking of heroin from Sicily into New York pizza parlors,
known as the "Pizza Connection". When the "Pizza Connection" scandal broke out and became publicly known in 1984, Bonventre's body was found hacked
in two pieces. His body was locked in two separate 55-gallon glue drums stored in a New Jersey warehouse.
Although the corpse of Bonventre had been found thanks to a government informant shortly before it
was going to be shipped to the Midwest, it would last for three months before federal authorities could
make a positive identification.
Although no arrests were made, a government informant claimed one of the men involved in
Bonventre's death was mobster Cosmo Aiello whose body was found five weeks after the
discovery of Bonventre.