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How To Sell Contraband in Starfield (Easy Guide)

How To Sell Contraband in Starfield (Easy Guide)

Looting is a core function of Starfield. Every now and then you’ll come across items that are listed as contraband. These items are quite valuable, but their illegal status will land you in trouble with law enforcement agencies. How to sell Contraband items in Starfield without causing a stir? Lowering chances of getting caught and where to sell them. All will be answered in this guide to contraband.


Contrabands are unlawful items in Starfield that are marked with a yellow or red icon. You can only sell them to Trade Authority storefronts or Trade Authority Kiosks and other shady merchants. You must have a shielded cargo hold on your ship to lower the chances of getting caught from random scans by the galactic police.

Contraband in Starfield


As you pillage ships and explore planets and installations, you will surely get your hands on some illicit items known as Contraband. These can be Harvested Organs or Aurora drugs among other things. Contraband items have a red or yellow icon on their description and are found in the Misc section of your inventory.

Even a goody-two-shoes player will be enticed by these items since they are quite a lucrative way of making credits. They sell for a high value and as we all know money makes the galaxy go round.

Contraband warning

Unfortunately, every time you enter a star system/planet overseen by a governing body like Vanguards or Freestar Ranger, there is a likelihood of getting your ship scanned. If you are holding any contraband on you then there is a chance they might catch it in their scan.

If caught, you’ll be arrested on the spot and thrown in jail, all your inventory will be confiscated including regular legal items, you’ll have to pay a fine, and you lose multiple in-game days along with a hefty XP penalty.

You can choose to fight the authorities in ship battles which could go south very quickly and a bounty placed on your head including strained relations with the respective group you went against. You can also try to bribe the officer who grabbed you which might not work all the time.

Hence, it is best to take precautionary measures so that you don’t get caught red-handed. Additionally, look for merchants who deal in these forbidden items to unload them without repercussions and make quite a change in return.

Contraband Handling Precautions

Before we go into how and where to sell the contraband, you must know these extremely worthwhile tips so you don’t get caught with your pants down. These are especially helpful if you are looking into the life of space piracy.

Limited Fast Travelling

greyed out locations

If you have contraband on you or you commandeered a ship with contraband then you won’t be able to fast travel to locations under a particular authority’s rule like New Atlantis etc. As seen in the picture above, these locations will be greyed out meaning you are forced to fast travel to their orbit and are subject to a scan.

It is a good method of checking whether you have such items on you so that there are no surprises when visiting uncharted systems.

None on Person

Ship Cargo

DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT store contraband in your personal inventory. As soon as you reach your ship, dump all contraband into your ship’s cargo. Having these items in your inventory is a sure-shot way of getting caught while being scanned.

There is still a chance of these items not getting detected while they are in your ship’s cargo, however, it is not a guarantee but lowers your chances.

When you safely reach a planet or space station where you can sell these items only then transfer the illegal goods to your personal inventory. You can sell items directly from your ship’s inventory to some vendors while others don’t allow it so it is best to transfer them to your personal inventory when you are going for a trade.

Free Zones

Scanning ship

It’s important to note that not every planet has patrolled areas, so in some places you can freely take your contraband with you. These are the perfect places for your smuggling empire.

Or, if you have the Dream Home trait or any outpost in such a free zone, you can always drop your drugs off at your house before visiting one of the more guarded planets.

Scan Evading Chance

A small tip, the more contraband you have in Starfield, the higher chance you’ll have of getting caught even with the shielded cargo hold. So beware of trying to take too much into a heavily guarded area. You can even throw the contraband on the floor of your ship to increase the chances of evading a scan.

Deception & Commerce Skill

image 114

In case you don’t always have the time to dump your contraband in your house and you are into the whole living outside the law lifestyle then the Deception Skill in the Social Skill Tree is your best friend. This skill and its subsequent ranks will lower the chances of triggering a random scan and even lower the chance of getting caught in a scan. A must-skill for all the space pirates out there.

Commerce is another Social Skill that will benefit your smuggling career. It allows you to sell items for higher value giving you more credits than normal.

Shielded Cargo and Scan Jammer

Shielded Cargo - Starfield Contraband

To further increase your chances of evading a scan, equip your ship with a Shielded Cargo and/or Scan Jammer. Either buy a ship with this part or customize your current ship with the said part.

Cargo holds like the “100CM Ballast Shielded Cargo Hold” give you 160 mass of shielded cargo space. You can also buy a scan jammer, which increases your chance of evading cargo ship scans by a set percentage.

Selling Contraband

Now comes the juicy bit, how to make the big bucks. We will go over some merchants who deal in these criminal items and some things to consider when trading.

Contraband Merchants

Not every shopkeeper will risk their neck dealing with these unlawful items. Here are a few merchants you can sell your contraband to in Starfield:

Wolf System - The Den - Starfield Contraband
Wolf System – The Den
Trade Authority - Starfield Contraband
Trade Authority
  • The earliest one you can find is in the Wolf System. There will be a space station orbiting Planet Chthonia called The Den. Dock here and proceed to the Trade Authority vendor. He will take everything off your hands at a good price. There are Trade Authority stores all over the galaxy so look out for those too.
  • Other Trade Authority store locations are:
    • The Sol System, Mars, Cydonia
    • The Volii System, Volii II, Neon City
    • Alpha Centauri System, Jemison, New Atlantis, The Well.
Trade Authority Kiosks
  • Almost every settlement with a spaceport will have a yellow Trade Authority kiosk. They usually have more money on hand than most other vendors. Just be careful, they might be areas where you typically get scanned before entering.
How to sell and smuggle contraband Starfield GUIDE 1 31 screenshot
  • Lon Anderssen, a merchant found in the Porrima System on Porrima III, Red Mile.
Become A Master Smuggler Sell Contraband in Starfield 3 37 screenshot
  • If you are part of the Crimson Fleet faction then smuggling just got easier. Any of the locations they operate in will welcome and trade in these illegal merchandise with open arms. The best place for it is their HQ on The Key in the Kryx System. Sell to your heart’s content.

Vendor Credit Limit Trick

Vendor Credit - Starfield Contraband

Each vendor will have a limited number of credits to begin with. Be careful when selling your items or contraband above this value as it is essentially like giving them up for free. Sell the items up to this number only and not above it.

Once the vendor’s credits are all gone, there is a way to reset them. Simply look for any chair and/or bed near the vendor and interact with it giving you the option to sleep.

Sleep for anywhere from 24 to 48 hours and then return to the vendor. If done right, the vendor will be back to his original credit limit, and you can continue selling your haul.

Hopefully, now you know everything there is to run a successful Contraband smuggling operation in Starfield. Contraband trading is by far the best method of accumulating credits in the game, and you shouldn’t sleep on it, even if you are playing a passive character.