Here's what you need to know if you want to become the galaxy's most-feared space pirate and steal ships in Starfield.

How to Smuggle Contraband in Starfield

Like most of Bethesda’s RPGs, Starfield has someone enforcing the law or, at least, justice. But what if you want to give the law the finger and trade in illegal goods? If you’re wondering how to smuggle contraband in Starfield, I’ve got the answer.

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Here’s How to Avoid Getting Discovered When Smuggling Contraband in Starfield

Starfield's Deception skill tree. Here's how to smuggle contraband in Starfield.

Starfield‘s contraband (items marked with a little yellow icon) can be sold and the money used for whatever purpose you desire. The catch is that you’ve got to take it to someone who will buy it. That means not getting caught by the space police who will scan you when you enter their range. Don’t worry about stolen goods, they can’t detect those, it’s just contraband they’re after.

There are a few ways to reduce your chances of getting caught, which are as follows.

  • Buy a scan jammer. This isn’t foolproof but it reduces the chances of the scan detecting the goods.
  • Buy a shielded cargo hold or a ship with one. Then, put the goods up to the hold’s shielded capacity in your hold.
  • Level up your deception skill. As you go up in rank, space police scans become less effective.

That last one is easy to accomplish. Those other two, not so much. You’ll have to find a merchant who will sell you these shady items. You can find one such merchant, Lon Anderson, in the Red Mile gambling den on Porrima III, in the Porrima system. When you enter for the first time you’ll see a man being held at gunpoint for trying to run out on his bill. Lon is in a small office right behind that area.

An easier option is to join the Crimson Fleet. Once you’ve done that, you’ll gain access to The Key, their base. There you can find Jasmine Durand who will also sell shielded cargo holds and ships. You don’t have to do anything other than gain entry to the Key, you can forget about all the other Crimson Fleet missions. Plus, the Crimson Fleet will no longer attack you, which is a bonus. You may also, if you’re lucky, board and steal a ship with a shielded hold.

RELATED: How Long Does It Takes to Beat Starfield

How Do You Sell Contraband? Should You Sell Contraband?

A Starfield Prison Shuttle. But can you have multiple ships?

To sell contraband you need to find a Trade Authority vendor. There’s one on The Key but you’ll find others scattered around, on Cydonia, Mars (Sol System) for example. They will happily take your contraband goods off you.

However, here’s the snag. You’ll find contraband, but the Starfield community has yet to find anyone who sells it. The contents of containers do appear to respawn, so if you get it from one you can go back a few days later and try opening it again. However, since the contents of containers are often random, there’s no guarantee you’ll get contraband this time.

So you can sell contraband, just don’t count on it being a regular income as in games like Elite: Dangerous. So if you want to smuggle contraband in Starfield, that’s what you need to know.

If you’re looking for more guides on how to play Starfield, we’ve got you covered with articles on how to travel between planets, the best early weapons, and how to customize your ship.


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Chris McMullen
Chris McMullen is a freelance contributor at The Escapist and has been with the site since 2020. He returned to writing about games following several career changes, with his most recent stint lasting five-plus years. He hopes that, through his writing work, he settles the karmic debt he incurred by persuading his parents to buy a Mega CD. Outside of The Escapist, Chris covers news and more for GameSpew. He's also been published at such sites as VG247, Space, and more. His tastes run to horror, the post-apocalyptic, and beyond, though he'll tackle most things that aren't exclusively sports-based. At Escapist, he's covered such games as Infinite Craft, Lies of P, Starfield, and numerous other major titles.