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Starfield contraband

Selling illegal goods is easier than you think, and the best locations where you can sell Starfield contraband don't even scan your ship.

Starfield contraband

Starfield contraband items are valuable items or consumables that will display a yellow icon and an exclamation mark when you find them. Anything marked as contraband is outright illegal to possess and will cause you to accrue a bounty if you pick up contraband in view of the authorities, or visit a system that scans your ship for illicit goods.

Despite the risk of getting caught, contraband items fetch a healthy sum of Credits on the Black Market, so it’s almost always worth picking up illicit goods when you find them, provided your Starfield ship has a shielded cargo space.

To sell it, you’ll need to visit a fence or vendor that is willing to buy it, so we’ve rounded up every piece of contraband you can find, and the best places you can sell contraband without getting caught.

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How to sell Starfield contraband

You can sell contraband like Mech Components and Stolen Artwork at Trade Authority vendors like the one found in Neon and New Atlantis. Of course, visiting either of these Starfield locations will result in the local Starfield factions giving your ship’s cargo a quick scan which will land you in jail if you don’t have shielded cargo space. So, where is the best place to sell contraband?

The best place to sell contraband is The Den and The Key:

  • The Den – This space station in the Wolf system doesn’t scan you for contraband, making it the ideal place to sell your contraband wares. The station is actually guarded by United Colonies soldiers, and you will accrue a bounty if you were to drop and pickup contraband within their field of vision. Fortunately, these soldiers don’t seem too bothered about what you do so long as you don’t make it obvious.
  • The Key – This space station rest above Suvorov in the Kryx system, and it is another great place to sell any items you can’t smuggle to a Trade Authority vendor. You gain access to The Key location during the Deep Cover quest, so many of you should already be able to fast travel there without worrying about bumping into Spacers, or the law. Just make sure you complete the Deep Cover mission before heading to The Key, as the local Crimson Fleet pirates don’t take kindly to visitors.

If neither of these locations are an option to you, you’ll need to equip your Starfield ship with some shielded cargo space ship components. Once equipped with shielded cargo capacity modules, you can smuggle and sell contraband to Trade Authority outlets which can be found in most major cities and locations.

Once you’ve got some shielded cargo spaces, you can also level up your Payloads and Deception skills to boost your contraband hauling capabilities.

With all that preparation in place, scans will be unlikely to find your cargo, and you can head over to any Trade Authority vendor at:

  • Cydonia – This commercial hub on Mars has an easily accessible Trade Authority outlet.
  • NeonVolii Alpha‘s seedy city has a Trade Authority store right in the center.
  • New Atlantis – In the shining city of Jemison, you can head down to The Well to find a Trade Authority seller.

Where to find Starfield contraband

With the exception of Aurora, which you can find for sale in Neon, much of the Starfield contraband you come across is randomly scattered throughout the Settled Systems.

Fortunately, contraband is marked with distinct yellow marker which can be seen if you hover over it with your crosshair or cursor. Contraband is extremely rare, and unlikely to turn up in more law-abiding Starfield locations like your local TerraBrew outlet. So, if you want to find contraband, head to pirate-controlled space, or go after Starfield factions like the Ecliptic Mercenaries.

One location worth checking out for a bumper crop of Starfield contraband is the Vulture’s Roost in the Jaffa system. You’ll need to deal with the local contingent of Ecliptic Mercenaries, but you’ll find a bundle of Aurora, Black Market Antiquities, Stolen Artwork and more scattered throughout this compound.

Screenshot of Aurora, one of the first Starfield contraband items you can find

If you don’t want to sell your contraband until you’ve reached the Starfield max level and ranked up the Commerce skill, your best bet is to store any illicit goods you collect at your Starfield outpost. No one can steal your contraband, and no one is going to scan your outpost and put a bounty on your head.

How to get shielded cargo

Without specific Starfield ship components, most Starfield ships will not have shielded cargo space. Shielded cargo space enables you to store contraband aboard your ship without getting caught by a faction’s cargo scan.

In order to get shielded cargo capacity, you will need to install shielded cargo components such as the Scan Jammer, which you can collect from the Red Mile ship services technician, or from Jasmine Durand at The Key.

It is important to note that shielded cargo will only protect what is specifically stored inside of your ship’s cargo space. Holding contraband items in your character’s inventory will open you up to being caught by the authorities, so make sure you manage your inventory carefully before jumping into faction-managed space.

How to smuggle Starfield contraband

When you grav jump into a Starfield system controlled by a Starfield faction, you may quickly discover the resident faction are scanning your cargo hold. Should you possess contraband aboard your ship, the faction will likely try to arrest you, ask you to pay a fine, or attempt to destroy you. As we mentioned earlier, if you’re planning on doing some smuggling, the Deception and Payloads skills come in handy to get you passed security checks.

Another important facet in smuggling is your ship. The ship you start the game with, The Frontier, has a regular cargo hold, making it more likely that you get caught red-handed when trying to land somewhere like Akila City with illegal items. So, you should search our ship database for a vessel with a shielded cargo hold by default, which will make it easier to land with your contraband undetected.

Fortunately enough, there are some early-game options for ships with shielded cargo holds. Our advice is either to seek out a Crimson Fleet ship technician and pick up a shielded cargo upgrade for your ship or to complete the Mantis mission which rewards you with the Razorleaf.

Found a hoard of Starfield contraband? Let us know all about it in the Starfield forum, and show us how successful your smuggling has been!

All Starfield Contraband

The Settled Systems is home to a wide range of illegal contraband, from stolen objects of high value, to weaponized components leftover from the Colony Wars. We’ve gathered every contraband item into a single database so you know which items have the highest value, and what to keep an eye out for. Not included in the table is Aurora, a drug manufactured and distributed in the pleasure city of Neon. Unlike other illegal items, you can easily purchase Aurora by visiting the Astral Lounge and speaking to the member of staff behind the bar.


Here are all the known Starfield contraband items: