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Where to sell Contraband in Starfield, how to hide and smuggle Contraband explained

Everything you need to know about Contraband in Starfield.

cropped menu image of a xenowarefare tech yellow suitcase
Image credit: Eurogamer/Bethesda Softworks

Contraband is a unique item type in Starfield, as you can't sell it at any of the usual vendors, and it can cost you your Contraband goods and a trip to jail if a scan in space successfully identifies it on your ship, or in any of your inventories.

If you don't want multiple run-ins with the law on your adventures, then you'll want to find out how to sell Contraband and the best places to sell Contraband in Starfield, which we've detailed below.

We've also gone over how to hide and smuggle Contraband on your ship so it's harder for scans to identify it, along with Contrand items, and Contraband locations.

However, we do recommend you get caught at least once if you want to start a unique quest line. We won't spoil what this is, but you can also access it by going to jail for stealing, or following the UC Vanguard quest.

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If you'd like more help in your galactic adventures, visit our Starfield guides, tips and tricks page.

Starfield Contraband explained

Contraband are items that are illegal in the Starfield universe, which means no matter how you get Contraband - be it as a reward, from stealing, or in loot - it will always be flagged as illegal by law forces. This makes Contraband different from stolen items, because those particular items aren't illegal, it's the fact you stole them that's the problem.

For example, Digipicks aren't illegal, but if it has a red symbol in its description, that means it's a stolen Digipick, and that is illegal. So, it will be confiscated if you're caught with it in your possession.

white arrow pointing to yellow contraband symbol in the item menu
This yellow symbol means an item is Contraband. | Image credit: Eurogamer/Bethesda Softworks

On the other hand, Harvested Organs are always Contraband as they are an illegal item, no matter if you stole them or not (we won't judge). While regular stolen items are marked by a red symbol, all Contraband is marked with a yellow symbol, regardless if you stole it or not.

It's these yellow symbol Contraband items that can get you fined or arrested if a ship scans them in space, so you'll want to sell them as soon as you can.

Starfield Contraband items

We've come across seven Contraband items in Starfield:

  • Aurora
  • Harvested Organs
  • Mech Components
  • Sentient AI Adapters
  • Stolen Artwork
  • Va'Ruun Heretic Writings
  • Xenowarfare Tech

Before picking any of these up, you'll see a yellow symbol in their item description. So, if you're planning on using your ship to travel to a planet's orbit, you should sell or hide your Contraband first - unless you want to lose all of your stolen and Contraband items, or get into a dogfight with the local authorities.

Where to sell Contraband in Starfield

The easiest place to sell Contraband in Starfield is at Trade Authority vendors. Just keep in mind that all vendors in Starfield only have a certain amount of Credits on them at any one time, this doesn't mean you can't still sell the Contraband to them, you just won't get any Credits for it.

You can circumvent this by sitting down and using the 'Wait' mechanic to wait for 48 hours. Any vendors should then refresh their Credits - but be careful using the 'Wait' function if you have any quests on a timer, like mission board assignments.

Trade Authority offices are available in all big hub worlds and space stations, and the two earliest you'll come across are in New Atlantis (Jemison) and Cydonia (Mars).

The Trade Authority office in New Atlantis is in the underground Well area, guarded by two UC Security members, to the left of the Apex Electronics store. You need to take an elevator down to get to the Well from the spaceport area.

first person view of etrance to trade authority in well area on new atlantis
The entrance to the Trade Authority at the Well in New Atlantis (Jemison). | Image credit: Eurogamer/Bethesda Softworks

In Cydonia, the Trade Authority is in the main hub area, down the ramp and to the right, on the top floor. There are some vending machines outside of its entrance to mark where it is.

first person view of the entrance to trade authority in cydonia on mars
The entrance to the Trade Authority at Cydonia (Mars). | Image credit: Eurogamer/Bethesda Softworks

Additionally, if you join the Crimson Fleet you get access to The Key space station, which has multiple vendors who you can sell your Contraband to - including their own Trade Authority vendor. The Key is a great place to sell your Contraband in general, as you don't get scanned when entering its orbit, as the Crimson Fleet isn't in the business of enforcing the law.

If you need to sell your Contraband without getting scanned somewhere other than The Key, there is a Trade Authority location you can access pretty early on...

Best place to sell Contraband in Starfield

If you want to sell your Contraband without getting scanned in Starfield, then the best place to go is The Den space station in the 'Wolf' Star System. This shady place doesn't have any ships surrounding it, so you won't get scanned when you fast travel here.

star system menu with the den highlighted
Image credit: Eurogamer/Bethesda Softworks

Once you've docked your ship at The Den, just walk forward a bit and turn left to spot the small Trade Authority kiosk.

first person view of the trade authority kiosk on the den
Image credit: Eurogamer/Bethesda Softworks

As mentioned in the section above, you can also sell your Contraband on The Key space station once you join The Crimson Fleet. As long as you stay a member of the fleet, this is another great location to sell your Contraband, as you don't get scanned here either - however it is in the Kryx star system which is much further away than The Den, so can be a bit of a hassle to get to at times.

How to hide and smuggle Contraband in Starfield

There are three steps to hide and smuggle Contraband in Starfield:

Ranking up 'Deception' is optional, but it's recommended if you're regularly smuggling Contraband and don't want to be caught.

Shielded Cargo doesn't guarantee your Contraband isn't detected, but it decreases the odds of getting caught smuggling it. Additionally, installing a Scan Jammer on your ship further decreases the odds of getting caught with Contraband.

When you have a Shielded Cargo Hold, you can then put all of your Contraband in your ship storage to hide it from scans. Remember, this isn't guaranteed to stop Contraband from being detected, it just lowers the odds of successful detection.

You can get a Shielded Cargo Hold, or a ship with one already installed, from Lon Anderssen at the Red Mile on Porrima III in the 'Porrima' Star System.

menu of star system jumping
menu of porrima star system with porrima 3 highlighted
Image credit: Eurogamer/Bethesda Softworks

Lon is behind the yellow door by the desk as you enter the Red Mile. If you're buying a ship, choose the 'Trader Railstar' option in the purchase screen to buy the ship with the Shielded Cargo Hold. It costs 72,000 Credits.

first person view of looking at lon anderssen behind a desk
in the ship purchase menu
The 'Shielded Capacity' number in the ship's overview on the left will tell you if it has cargo shields or not. | Image credit: Eurogamer/Bethesda Softworks

If you want to buy the Shielded Cargo Hold part on its own instead, go to the ship builder option with Lon, make sure nothing is highlighted, then select the 'Add' button and tab over to the cargo hold menu. This is a lot cheaper than buying a new ship.

ship builder menu with the cargo hold options tab open
Image credit: Eurogamer/Bethesda Softworks

It's also possible to get Shielded Cargo Holds from Crimson Fleet ships that you highjack. This is a lot cheaper than purchasing a ship, so if you come across one, it's worth commandeering for its Shielded Cargo Hold alone.

Where to find Contraband in Starfield

The two best locations for finding Contraband are:

  • Neon
  • Prisons

Neon is located on Volii Alpha in the Volii star system. To get quick Contraband from Neon, go to the Euphoria Vendor in the Ebbside area (accessed from a door beside Terrabrew Coffee) and buy Aurora from the vendor behind the bar. Aurora costs 670 Credits here.

Image credit: Eurogamer/Bethesda

Another easy way to get Contraband is to search prisons. Not all of them contain Contraband, but some have at least one Contraband item stored somewhere. We recommend checking the prison cells, as we've found a few pieces of contraband in them - mostly Va'Ruun Heretic Writings.

first person vire of a piece ofcontraband in a prison cell by a flipped table
Image credit: Eurogamer/Bethesda Softworks

Additionally, if you get caught with Contraband and go to prison, your Contraband items will be in one of the confiscated goods containers. So you can get it right back!

Buildings and outposts on the more illegal side are also potential Contraband locations. Like facilities that research or researched Xenowarfare, or places that house Va'Ruun members.

Good luck smuggling Contraband in Starfield, and if you need any extra help, check-out our guides in lock picking and pickpocketing.

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