How To Smuggle And Sell Contraband In Starfield 

It’s only illegal if you get caught.

Contrabands are the illegal items you can trade and earn a lot of cash in Starfield. You can easily identify them by the yellow symbol next to them in your inventory.

Contrabands can’t be sold openly and are only purchased by certain vendors around the galaxy. This is also why your ship is scanned for these illegal items before landing on planets with high security. Getting caught with it can have serious repercussions.

This is why you will need to find ways to hide it from the eyes of lawmen. This guide will tell you how to smuggle contraband and what to do if you are caught with it. 


Successfully smuggling contraband past the security cargo scan unlocks the “I Use Them for Smuggling” Achievement.

Where to sell contraband in Starfield?

Contraband can be sold to any Trade Authority vendor in Starfield. While their shops can be found in multiple star systems, the two best places are The Den in the Wolf System and The Key in the Kryx System.

This is because you won’t be scanned while entering both of these locations which makes smuggling easy. You will also fetch a better price while selling contraband here thanks to the lenient rules. The Den is accessible from the start while you will need to playthrough the Crimson Fleet storyline to unlock The Key.

Here are a few common places to sell contraband but you will be scanned before landing on these planets.

  • Neon City: Volii Alpha
  • New Atlantis: Jemison
  • Cydonia: Mars
  • Akila City: Akila
  • The Den: Wolf System
  • The Key: Kryx System

You can also sell contraband to any of the Trade Authority ships you encounter in space.

How to smuggle contraband in Starfield

Transporting the yellow-marked illegal items can expose you to authorities if you don’t take proper measures to hide them. Use these methods to smuggle contraband in Starfield.

Don’t have contraband in your inventory. At the time of the cargo scan, you will immediately get caught if you are carrying illegal items in person. To avoid this, either drop contraband off at your house or transfer it to your ship’s cargo hold.

Invest in Deception skills. Under the Social Skill Tree, you will find the Deception skill which reduces your chances of getting flagged while carrying contraband. It starts with 10% Deception and can be raised to a maximum of 50% with Rank 4.

Get a Shielded Cargo Hold. The Shielded Cargo Hold hides your contraband from getting detected by cargo scans. Just make sure you don’t overfill it or you can get caught.

Install Scan Jammers on your ship. Scan Jammers provide ship-wide protection by blocking scan signals from detecting contraband in your ship. They do, however, require shielded cargo holds to function


All the methods to smuggle contraband are not foolproof in Starfield. You can still get caught but the more you invest, the lower the chances of failing a scan.

Where to buy ship upgrades for smuggling contraband?

To move contraband around you will need two main ship upgrades, Scan Jammers and a Shielded Cargo Hold. Fortunately, both of them can be easily acquired.

The first method is to purchase the ship upgrades from vendors. There are only two vendors that carry Shielded Cargo Holds and Scan Jammers in Starfield. The first one is Lon Anderson located in the Red Mile on Porrima III in the Porrima system. The other one is the Ship Services Technician on The Key, Jasmine Durand. She is the one who offers you the Deep Covers quest.

You will first have to pursue the upgrades of these technicians for them to offer you the Shielded Cargo Hold. They can cost a fortune but you can grab the smaller versions before investing in the more expensive ones.


To install these ship mods you need to at least have Starship Design to Rank 2.

Another way to get a Shielded Cargo Hold is to steal ships that have it. You can find which ships have it by checking the cargo capacity gauge under them.

You won’t have to always steal these ships as some are rewarded to you by simply completing quests. The Razorleaf is a free ship you get by completing the Mantis quest that comes pre-equipped with a Shielded Cargo Hold.

What happens if you get caught with contraband?

If you are caught with Contraband then you will be arrested in Starfield. You can either serve your jail sentence, escape jail, bribe the guards, or pay the fine to get out.


You lose all the contraband in your ship storage and inventory if you get caught smuggling in Starfield.

Serve your jail sentence: you will be imprisoned and lose XP for the time you spend in jail.

Escape jail: if you get out successfully, you will get a bounty on your head. You can either pay it off or get captured a second time.

Pay the fine: To clear your name, you can just pay the fine charged and not deal with it in the future. This, however, will come out of your own pocket.

Bribe the guards: you can lower the fine or get out scot-free by bribing the prison guards if you get caught while smuggling contraband. This option is only available if you have the Negotiation skill (under the Social Skill Tree). The higher the skill level, the better the deal you can get.

How to take back contraband after getting caught

Getting caught while smuggling removes all the contraband in your possession. There is a way to retrieve it. Simply head over to the Security Office of the Faction you were caught by. You will find a locked container labeled “Stolen Items Locker” that contains your goods. It requires an Expert-level lockpicking skill to unlock and get all your confiscated contraband back.


Not all Security Offices are in the same area you were caught in. For example, the Security Office of the United Colonies is opposite the Landing Pad in New Atlantis. 

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Urooj Zia is your local indie games enthusiast who spends the majority of her time farming in Stardew Valley. When she is not obsessing over the virtual world, she likes to guide lost gamers to ...