A traffic stop on Interstate 78 in Tilden Township resulted in state police arresting three Mexican nationals, including two who were previously deported from the United States, authorities said Friday.

Trooper Dallas Hackman spotted a westbound pickup truck towing a van and a homemade trailer. The vehicles were connected using a spare tire, chains and synthetic wrap, police said.

"That's a big no-no on the interstate," Hackman said. "You can use chains to tow a disabled vehicle on local roads, but you can't on the interstate. And you can't tow more than one vehicle at a time."

Troopers gave this account:

When Hackman stopped the pickup truck near Exit 29 in Tilden about 3:30 p.m. Sunday, he discovered three men in the van that was being towed, including one in the driver's seat.

The pickup driver, Jesus Ignacio Enriquez, 31, of Garland, Texas, told Hackman that he was a painter and was returning to Texas from a job in Connecticut.

He said the men were employees and he was towing the van because it had broken down.

Police detained the men in the van. They were identified as Alonzo Velasquez-Olivera, 38; Manuel Algna-Hernandez, 20; and Jose Rodriguez-Ramirez, 43.

All three were in the U.S. illegally; two of them, Hernandez and Ramirez, previously had been deported, according to state police.

They were taken to the Berks County sheriff's office and were later turned over to federal immigration agents, Hackman said.

Enriquez was issued citations for various traffic violations.

Contact Jason A. Kahl: 610-371-5024 or jkahl@readingeagle.com.